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What is Personification?

Teaching figurative language is one of my favorite steps into the exciting world of literature. Figurative language transports language from what is written on a page to creating an emotional, visual, and highly impactful experience for readers. It is always fun to see students’ lightbulb moments when they notice figurative language at play in what they’re reading. Finding personification in songs is easy when you know how. This post will help give you the tools to identify personification every time correctly.

There are many different kinds of figurative language, including metaphors, similes, onomatopoeias, irony, and more. We are specifically going to discuss personification.

Personification’s basic definition is giving non-human objects a human emotion. Some examples of this include:

  • The river wept.
  • The dog laughed as the child chased the balloon.
  • The stars danced around the moon.
  • The balloon sadly floated down towards the tree.

You get the idea! The best part about personification is that it is everywhere! That’s because we, as humans, like to give things human emotions. When we describe something that we can understand, then our readers are more likely to understand it.

Plus, when you use personification, you add interest and value to your descriptions, creating more imagery for your reader.

Personification in Songs

Since figurative language provides interest in the written word, it is no surprise that devices such as personification are commonly found in most songs. Artists like to use personification to help describe feelings, events, and moments in their lives.

We have compiled a list of some of the best songs to help children understand personification in music.

Elton John

“That we’ve got this far
And can you feel the love tonight?
How it’s laid to rest?
It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds
Believe the very best”

In this iconic Disney song, we can see streaks of personification throughout the chorus. Since we cannot feel love or lay it to rest, we can easily identify that personification is being used to illustrate the song’s point.

Katy Perry

“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,
Drifting through the wind
Wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards,
One blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
6 feet under screams, but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you?
‘Cause there’s a spark in you

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em falling down-own-own”

 

Pharrell Williams

“It might seem crazy what I’m ’bout to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way

Huh, because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

I won’t lie to you when I tell you that my toddlers and I listen to this song at least once a day. It’s hard not to dance and smile when listening to a song all about being happy. The personification pops up twice at the beginning of the song. First, when Pharrell gives the sun the individuality to come and relieve people. Secondly, by describing somebody like a room without a roof.

As you can see, finding personification in songs is easy once you know how to!

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Aladin

“Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky”

Moana

“See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know, if I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go”

Frozen

“Snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway”

Lego Movie

“I feel more awesome than an awesome possum
Dip my body in chocolate frostin’
Three years later wash off the frostin’
Smellin’ like a blossom, everything is awesome
Stepped in mud, got new brown shoes”

Trolls

“And I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you”

Taylor Swift

“But one of these things is not like the others
Like a rainbow with all of the colors
Baby doll, when it comes to a lover
I promise that you’ll never find another like

Me-e-e, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I’m the only one of me
Baby, that’s the fun of me
Eeh-eeh-eeh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
You’re the only one of you
Baby, that’s the fun of you
And I promise that nobody’s gonna love you like me-e-e

I know I tend to make it about me
I know you never get just what you see
But I will never bore you, baby
(And there’s a lot of lame guys out there)
And when we had that fight out in the rain
You ran after me and called my name
I never wanna see you walk away
(And there’s a lot of lame guys out there)

‘Cause one of these things is not like the others
Livin’ in winter, I am your summer
Baby doll, when it comes to a lover
I promise that you’ll never find another like”

Sara Bareilles

“You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

Finding Personification in Songs is Easy When You Know How

Personification in songs is easy to identify once you understand that all you’re looking for is human emotions. Understanding how figurative language is used in our favorite songs can make listening more educational and enjoyable.

It’s nearly guaranteed that your child’s favorite songs have examples of personification in them, so challenge them to piece through the lyrics to identify it themselves.

If your child is struggling with concepts such as personification and figurative language, let ArgoPrep help! ArgoPre has an ELA workbook for every age from kindergarten to eighth grade. These workbooks feature relevant reading, examples, and problems to reinforce topics that they are learning in school (including personification!).

In just 30 minutes per day, your child can start seeing improvements in just 30 days, with the help of ArgoPrep. Additionally, with each ArgoPrep workbook purchase, you gain access to our online library filled with video explanations, additional practice, and more.

Now that you’re well on your way to identifying personification in songs let’s put your knowledge to the test! Let us know what song you choose to analyze!

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