What is an example of personification in the short story Everyday Use?

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Personification is attributing qualities of a human being to something that is not human.  In this story, personification is very closely tied to the basic theme of the story which is the contrast between Magge and Dee.  One woman is seeking bits and pieces of her heritage after she has adopted a new one.  The other is still living the live of a traditional southern black woman. For Dee, life has presented her with a degree of education and wealth.  For Maggie, acceptance of her simple lot in life is evident in her lack of confidence.

Personfication occurs in the following line: "Like good looks and money, quickness passes her by."   The use of personification is evident in the way that implies an active intent on the part of good looks and money to avoid Maggie.  In a way, this seems to imply that Maggie's life is one dictated to her by fate, something she cannot change.


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