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Personification is a figure of speech in which "inanimate objects are endowed with human form, character, traits, or sensibilities." In Wednesday Wars, there are some good examples of personification in the first paragraph of Chapter 3, entitled "November." In this paragraph, the narrator is describing the setting. He says,
"November dripped onto Long Island, as it did every year. The days turned gray and damp, and a hovering mist licked everything."
Human characteristics are attributed to both November and the mist. November, which is an inanimate concept, is described as being capable of dripping, and the mist, equally inanimate by nature, is said to have "licked everything." The personifications provide vivid imagery, making the weather tangible and establishing a mood of drabness and foreboding.
Four sentences into the same paragraph, the narrator provides another very effective example of personification when he says,
"The azaleas lost the remnants of their white and pink blossoms, and then many of their leaves, and since they were half-naked and embarrassed, my father wrapped them in tight burlap..."
The azaleas, which have been stripped of their blossoms and leaves by the changing of the seasons, are, humanlike, "embarrassed" because of their "half-naked" state. The personification provides a colorful and eminently understandable image, with the azaleas being likened to a woman, disconcerted at being so inappropriately exposed (Chapter 3).
There are several examples of personification in The Wednesday Wars. In these examples, the author makes something that isn't human seem human and carry out human activities. For example, on page 12, Holling says of Doug Swieteck's brother, "The hair on his chest leaped over the neck of his T-shirt." This example of personification gives the character's hair a life its own and paints a vivid picture in the reader's mind of boy who is so hairy that his hair seems alive.
On page 18, Holling says, "The P.A. crackled and screeched like a parrot. It called my name. It said I was to come to the principal's office." In this example, the P.A. seems like a person or a wild bird, and it seems to be doing the talking, rather than the person who is speaking into it. This example imparts a sense that the P.A. (public announcement system) is like a disembodied voice, adding to Holling's anxiety about being called to the principal's office. As he is going to the principal's office on page 19, Holling says, "And in those first days of school, your sneakers squeak on the waxed floors like you're torturing them." In this example, Holling makes his sneakers seem alive. His shoes seem to be hollering out of pain, and this example of personification expresses how loud his sneakers seem as Holling tries to make his way down the hallway without attracting attention.
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