I am reading All Quiet on the Western Front, and analyzing the theme of how soldiers lose their humanity. One of the examples I picked was

"It is not now the time but I will not lose these thoughts, I will keep them, shut them away until the war is ended. My heart beats fast: this is the aim, the great, the sole aim, that I have thought of in the trenches; that I have looked for as the only possibility of existence after this annihilation of all human feeling."

And I said that "I will keep them [thoughts], shut them away" is personification. However, looking back, I don't think this is personification because Paul is the person, and he is doing something figuratively to his thoughts.

Is it personification or is it another literary device?

1 Answer 1


That sounds like a type of imagery to me, specifically, phenomenological imagery.

One of my favorite examples of this is by Haruki Murakami:

“You might think you made a new world or a new self, but your old self is always gonna be there, just below the surface, and if something happens, it'll stick its head out and say 'Hi. ' You don't seem to realize that. You were made somewhere else.”

The internal "old self" sticking ts head out and saying hi is the phenomenological imagery.

This kind of imagery is, IMO, possibly the hardest to pull off but also has the most potential insight into the inner self, the consciousness.