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It is a figure in which inanimate objects are invested with the personality of a living. In it, inanimate objects are invested with adjectives that convey the feelings and characteristics of living beings. As it is closely allied to the previous figure Personal Metaphor can really be considered a species of Personification. 

This figure is named Personal Metaphor because it involves both a personification and a metaphor. It is a kind of personification because here an inanimate object is invested with some attributes of a living being. Thus,  in the expression ''The thirsty earth' an inanimate object (i.e........, 'earth') is given a personal attribute (i.e., 'thirsty'). Hence the present figure bears certain characteristics of a personification. It is,  again,  a metaphor in the sense that an attribute (i.e., 'thirsty') properly belonging to a person is transferred to an inanimate object (i.e.., 'earth') so that an implied comparison may be assumed between the person and the inanimate object.

In personification personality may be ascribed to an abstract idea only,  e.g., 'Chill Penury ' or ' Pale Melancholy '.In personal metaphor,  however, this can be done only in the case was f an inanimate object,  e.g., 'Prattling brook' or 'Frowning sky '. The reason behind this is that while the test of the metaphor (i.e., it can be expanded into a simile)  holds good in the case of an inanimate object,  it is not so in the case of an abstract idea. ' A prattling brook',  for example,  can be expanded into the following simile: ' As a child prattles,  so a brook makes a ceaseless noise '. In the case of an abstract idea being invested with human attributes,  such as ' Chill Penury ', the test of the metaphor does not hold good,  for it cannot be expanded into a simile; hence such a case cannot be considered as a personal metaphor. -

In the following example... 

The thirsty earth soaks up the rain 

And drinks and gapes for drink again (Cowper)

We face certain complications. The first part ('thirsty earth') is clearly an example of a personal metaphor,  an inanimate object being invested with human personality. But in the second part, we find such an object acting ('drinks and 'gapes') like a living being, i.e........, the attributes of a living being have been given to an inanimate object,  which is generally done in personification. Nothing this complexity Prof. Bain remarks that ' the two modes of personification shade into each,  other ', and hence Personification and Personal Metaphor shouldn’t be treated as distinct and different figures. 

The chief characteristics of this figure are given below:


An inanimate object is treated as a living being.


It is invested in the personality of a living being.


In it, an attribute properly belonging to a person is transferred to such an object for which there is an implied comparison between the two.


In it, an abstract idea is not taken into consideration. 



The fearful roar of the angry sea


weary wave and dying blast

Sob and moan along the shore.


I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers (Shelley) 


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