ENGL 102 Figurative Language: Simile, Metaphor and Personification
Robert Frost on his own poetry: “One stanza of 'The Road Not Taken' was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn't bear not to finish it. I wasn't thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way." Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 23 Aug. 1953
Forgotten DreamsEdward Silvera The soft gray hands of sleep Toiled all night long To spin a beautiful garment Of dreams: At dawn The little task was done. Awakening, The garb so deftly spun Was only a heap Of raveled thread – A vague remembrance In my head.
EggLinda Pastan In this kingdom the sun never sets; under the pale oval of the sky there seems no way in or out, and though there is a sea here there is no tide. For the egg itself is a moon glowing faintly in the galaxy of the barn, safe but for the spoon’s ominous thunder, the first delicate crack of lightning.
Personification: • A figure of speech in which human characteristics are attributed to nunhuman things, events or abstract ideas • Personification lets the reader see inanimate objects and abstract ideas in terms of familiar human qualities.
Personification: • Personification is basically a type of comparison and in this sense a subset of simile and metaphor. But it is a comparison of a particular kind, in that it always likens something that is not human to the human realm. The comparison may be implicit, as in metaphor, or explicit, as in simile. (Art of Poetry 93)
McIntosh AppleSteven Kroll McIntosh apple Has nice rosy cheeks Romaine lettuce Turns green when she speaks Cherry tomato Has gorgeous red hair But I’m mashed potatoes And fall down the stairs.
DandelionHilda Conkling O little soldier with the golden helmet, What are you guarding on my lawn? You with your green gun And your yellow beard, Why do you stand so stiff? There is only the grass to fight!
The ToasterWilliam Jay Smith A silver -scaled Dragon with jaws flaming red Sits at my elbow and toasts my bread. I hand him fat slices, and then, one by one, He hands them back when he sees they are done.
William Jay Smith on “The Toaster” “This poem over the years has had a great variety of fascinating illustrations when it has appeared in anthologies and textbooks, but my favorite of them all is one sent to me by a young boy who copied out the poem and beside it drew a fierce yellow dragon standing with flame pouring from his jaws while he holds in one claw a real piece of toast, which the young boy had carefully pasted in place. I framed his illustration and it hangs above my desk.”
More examples for Personification 1. Bitter the storm tonight. It hurls the white locks of the sea…. Geoffrey Grigson from the Irish,‘The Vikings’ 2. Winter sat tight on Our shoulder blades, Ann Darr,‘The Stone Under the Skin’ 3. Leaves don’t fall. They descend. Longing for earth, they come winging. Malka Heifetz Tussman, ‘Leaves’
Sunday RainJohn Updike The window screen is trying to do its crossword puzzle but appears to know only vertical words.
Hard FrostAndrew Young But vainly the fierce frost Interns poor fish, ranks trees in an armed host, Hangs daggers from house eaves And on the windows ferny ambush weaves; In the long war grown warmer The sun will strike him dead and strip his armor.
The Six StringsFederico Garcia Lorca The guitar causes dreams to weep. The sobs of lost souls escape through its round mouth. And like the tarantula it weaves a large star to trap the sighs floating in its black wooden cistern.
AutumnT. E. Hulme A touch of cold in the Autumn night –I walked abroadAnd saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedgeLike a red-faced farmer.I did not stop to speak, but nodded,And round about were the wistful stars With white faces like town children. Course Reader, P. 3
CodaEzra Pound O my songs, Why do you look so eagerly and so curiously into people’s faces, Will you find your lost dead among them? Course Reader, P. 8