Personification is a form of figurative language that is used as a literary technique. Personification means attributing human characteristics to something that is not human. For more information on how to identify and use personification in writing, please check out our Personification Worksheets. Read on for 30 examples of personification, including many personification examples from literature.
- The stars winked at each other in the dark.
- Flames surrounded the house, licking and devouring it whole.
- The books murmured their stories from her shelf.
- Every photo in the album hides a secret.
- The cat glared at the new kitten like a jealous girlfriend.
- The sand stretched out its long limbs beside the water’s edge.
- Crouching low, the old cottage looked bent to its knees.
- The sky wept tears of joy.
- Cookies and cakes called to him from the display case: “eat us up!”
- Her silken dress whispered and sighed as she settled into the chair.
- The skyscrapers punched the blue sky.
- In the early morning light, time was patient with the new mother and her child.
- His voice filled up the house like an army of soldiers sent to attack.
- My dog studied the grass as if he was an architect preparing blueprints.
- The car horn squealed to alert us that they’d finally arrived.
Personification Examples from Literature
The following examples are all quoted from various works of literature, including poems, plays, stories, and novels.
- “These are the lips of the lake, on which no beard grows. It licks its chops from time to time.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “The fog comes / on little cat feet.” – Carl Sandburg
- “April is the cruelest month.” – T.S. Eliot
- “When it comes, the landscape listens, / Shadows hold their breath,” – Emily Dickinson
- “‘Ah, William, we’re weary of weather, / said the sunflowers, shining with dew. / Our traveling habits have tired us. / Can you give us a room with a view?” – William Blake
- “The woods are getting ready to sleep—they are not yet asleep but they are disrobing and are having all sorts of little bed-time conferences and whisperings and good-nights.” – L.M. Montgomery
- “Five-fingered ferns hung over the water and dropped spray from their fingertips.” – John Steinbeck
- “Hadn’t she known that something good was going to happen to her that morning–hadn’t she felt it in every touch of the sunshine, as its golden finger-tips pressed her lids open and wound their way through her hair?” – Edith Wharton
- “Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.” William Shakespeare
- “Pink is what red looks like when it kicks off its shoes and lets its hair down. Pink is the boudoir color, the cherubic color, the color of Heaven’s gates. . . . Pink is as laid back as beige, but while beige is dull and bland, pink is laid back with attitude.” – Tom Robbins
- “The teapot sang as the water boiled, / The ice cubes cackled in their glass, / The teacups chattered to one another, / While the chairs were passing gas.” Sharon Hendricks
- “The glacier knocks in the cupboard, / The desert sighs in the bed, / And the crack in the tea-cup opens / A lane to the land of the dead.” – W.H. Auden
- “I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. / Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. / Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike / I am not cruel, only truthful –” – Sylvia Plath
- “Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.” – Theodore Roethke
- “The shattered water made a misty din. Great waves looked over others coming in.” – Robert Frost