Why the Use of Personification

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Julissa Alvarez
English 120
Dr. Marcia Farrell
March 11, 2013
Why the use of Personification
The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms defines personification as a figure of speech in which human characteristics are bestowed upon anything nonhuman, from an abstract idea to a physical force to an inanimate object to a living organism (Murfin and Ray378). Many authors use personification in literary works because they want to represent something through a non-human character. For example, an author making an owl speak in their book may represent the owl speaking of knowledge, since in most cases owls represent knowledge. Overall, personification can be used in many different ways and interpret many different things.

First of all, in the novel “The Once and Future King: The Sword in the Stone” by T.H. White, there are several obvious examples of personification. Throughout the book, T.H. White is brilliant in that he uses different types of personification. For example, in one part of the book the Wart was being introduced to an owl named Archimedes. Not knowing that the owl spoke, Wart named him Archie, we then found out that the owl became offended. “You might as well call me Wol, or Olly,’ said the owl sourly. And have done with it (White36)”. This quote portrays that Archimedes was indeed unhappy with the nickname Wart had given him. Also, in this quote one sees how T.H. White uses personification with the owl, giving him the ability to talk.

Another way T.H. White uses personification in his book is when Merlyn teaches the Wart a lesson in the mews by turning the Wart into a merlin bird. In this scene of the book, the Wart gets to see how the spar hawks, merlins, kestrels, and falcons in the mews use power. Then the Wart learns how power is meant to be used. “You will find that the kestrel and the spar-hawk will be polite to you … don’t interrupt the senior merlins or the falcon. She is the honorary colonel of the...
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