Anthropomorphism is a fancy word for “in the form of a human.” You can learn more about it here. It’s close to personification, and if you mix them up, it’s okay by me.
Anthropomorphism means giving human attributes to something that is not human. For instance, the Toy Story movies use anthropomorphism to give life to the toys, as do all the Transformer movies and any other movies or stories in which animals or objects talk, laugh, plan, and do other things humans do.
An example of someone’s shoes taking on the human characteristic of speech occurs in Alexander McCall Smith’s Blue Shoes and Happiness. This passage comes just after the character believes she has made a terrible mistake with her fiancé and might have lost him:
She looked down at her shoes—her green shoes with the sky-blue linings. And the shoes looked back up at her. You’ve done it, Boss, said the shoes. Don’t expect us to carry you all around town looking for another man. You had one and now you don’t. Bad luck, Boss. Bad luck.
Now it’s your turn: Write a scene or a short story in which something that is not human “comes alive” with human speech, habits, thoughts, emotions, and so forth. It can be anything: a pencil, building, dog, car, wolf, or anything else. Have fun with your imagination.
Copyright © 2011-2014 by Sharon Watson
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