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The Songwriter's Idea Book by Sheila Davis

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STRATEGY THIRTEENPersonification as Design Device

Some Background

Personification, a subtype of metaphor, is a figure of speech attributing human characteristics to abstractions or inanimate objects: “The sun smiled on the Memorial Day parade”; “Illiteracy is robbing us of future leaders”; “Inflation is eating up the profits.”

Some Lyric Line Examples

Personification is most frequently heard in lyrics in one-liners such as these by Oscar Hammerstein–for whom the device was a favorite: “The wind got confidential and whispered through a tree”; “The world will open its arms to me”; “The soft mist of England was sleeping on a hill.”

Some Song Examples

As a design strategy, personification takes two forms. The basic form is one in which an abstraction/place/thing ...

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