Saturday, April 15, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 - Prompt #15 - To Make Human

The Easter Bunny is an
anthropomorphized rabbit.
The assignation of human traits or humanity to an inanimate or inhuman object is a common device in poetry. For example, Silvia Plath gave human life to flowers in her poem "Poppies in October." The final lines are:

Oh my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frosts, in a dawn of cornflowers

The poppies now possess mouths that can cry like human mouths. It emphasizes the speaker's feelings, their astonishment at being in just this place, at just this time, to witness this spectacle.

So what's the difference between "personification" and "anthropomorphism?"  Everyone seems to have their own answer for this, as the two terms are so closely related.  The Merriam Webster Dictionary says this about personify: "to conceive of or represent as a person or as having human qualities or power" or "to be the embodiment or personification of : i.e. a teacher who personified patience."  Anthropomorphism is defined as "to attribute human form or personality to things not human."  A lot of Disney sidekicks are animals that have been completely anthropomorphized such as Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio or Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid.

Prompt #15:  Write a poem in which an object, deity, animal, or other inhuman object is given human traits, or acts as a human being.  How has it become the embodiment of human characteristics?  What is this object thinking, doing, and feeling?  How does this personification or anthropomorphism work in your poem?  Consider these questions as you craft your poem. 

For something more specific, try following a rhyme scheme in your poem.

There are so many options for "to make human" in fantasy, horror, or sci-fi i hardly know where to start ...

Did you use this or one of our other prompts?  You can post your poem in our comments, if you like.

Happy Writing!

Prompts crafted by:
J.A. Grier, Senior Scientist and Education Specialist, Planetary Science Institute
Amy Grier, Managing Editor, Solstice Literary Magazine
Image Credits: Easter Bunny Postcard 1907 Wikimedia Commons.  Public Domain

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