Personification In The Necklace

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Personification entails awarding behaviors often done by humans to inanimate objects (or animals). Since these do not act like "persons",  authors use creative license to make these inanimate things act in a way that is more relatable to the reader.

One of the examples found in the story is:

those ancient night cabs which, as though they were ashamed to show their shabbiness during the day, are never seen round Paris until after dark.

This personification aims to emphasize on the ugliness of these night cabs by putting their description in context. Being in Paris society equals being "in the fashion". As such, you could never be seen wearing the wrong thing, talking to the wrong people, or even riding on the wrong set of wheels. In this excerpt, the cabs even feel so sorry for themselves that they would only come out at night for fear of being seen. In reality, whether they ride in the daylight or at night does not matter. The author just wants to make a point of sarcasm to make the reading more entertaining.

Another example of personification is:

she thought of dainty dinners, of shining silverware, of tapestry that peopled the walls with ancient personages and with strange birds flying in the midst of a fairy forest

Essentially this is telling us that the tapestry on the wall is decorated with ancient and important characters, "ancient personages". However, the fact that this decoration gives an ambiance in the room that makes it look like there are more persons in the room, and adds to the presence of the tapestry itself, the word "peopled" entails that it is bringing the people into the room. Again, this is another way of showing an inanimate object conducting human behaviors.