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What is Anthropomorphism?

Anthropomorphism is when anything non-human, such as an animal or object, is given human qualities including emotions and actions.

Basically your whole childhood was a giant bowl of anthropomorphism.
 
Alright, this one’s tricky to say but it’s not hard to do. In fact, you’ve probably written poems using anthropomorphism, and you’ve definitely seen it in action. Anthropomorphism is when anything non-human, such as an animal or object, is given human qualities including emotions and actions. This is a great tool to use when you want to give a first-person perspective from the point of view of something that doesn’t usually have a voice of its own. This technique is used all the time in stories geared towards children because the characters seem more exciting and relatable (seriously, if you had a choice would you hang out with a regular ol’ teenager or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?). Myths and fairy tales often use anthropomorphism to create stories in which animals and forces of nature are main characters. This might sound similar to personification, but with anthropomorphism the animal or object actually has to carry out human-like actions while with personification they just have to appear human. An example of personification is, “The wind ran through the forest” while an example of anthropomorshism is, “Wind got out of bed, threw on some running shorts, and went for a jog around the block before meeting his friend Snow for coffee.” See the difference?  
 
Now, see how these poets used anthropomorphism to give depth to non-human objects.
 

My Life Had Stood- A Loaded Gun (764)

BY EMILY DICKINSON

My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun -

In Corners - till a Day

The Owner passed - identified -

And carried Me away -

 

And now We roam in Sovreign Woods -

And now We hunt the Doe -

And every time I speak for Him

The Mountains straight reply -

 

And do I smile, such cordial light

Opon the Valley glow -

It is as a Vesuvian face

Had let it’s pleasure through -

 

And when at Night - Our good Day done -

I guard My Master’s Head -

’Tis better than the Eider Duck’s

Deep Pillow - to have shared -

 

To foe of His - I’m deadly foe -

None stir the second time -

On whom I lay a Yellow Eye -

Or an emphatic Thumb -

 

Though I than He - may longer live

He longer must - than I -

For I have but the power to kill,

Without - the power to die -

 

A Windmill Makes a Statement

BY CATE MARVIN

You think I like to stand all day, all night,

all any kind of light, to be subject only

to wind? You are right. If seasons undo

me, you are my season. And you are the light

making off with its reflection as my stainless

steel fins spin.

 

On lawns, on lawns we stand,

we windmills make a statement. We turn air,

churn air, turning always on waiting for your

season. There is no lover more lover than the air.

You care, you care as you twist my arms

round, till my songs become popsicle

 

and I wing out radiants of light all across

suburban lawns. You are right, the churning

is for you, for you are right, no one but you

I spin for all night, all day, restless for your

 

sight to pass across the lawn, tease grasses,

because I so like how you lay above me,

how I hovered beneath you, and we learned

some other way to say: There you are.

 

You strip the cut, splice it to strips, you mill

the wind, you scissor the air into ecstasy until

all lawns shimmer with your bluest energy.

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