What Is the Personification in “The Most Dangerous Game”?

A prime example of personification in Richard Connell’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game” occurs early in the story when Rainsford, still aboard the yacht, is “trying to peer through the dank tropical night that was palpable as it pressed its thick warm blackness in upon the yacht.” Night is given the human ability to press itself against something. According to Dictionary.com, personification gives non-living things human abilities and qualities.

The sea is personified several times in the story. After falling off the yacht, Rainsford fought the sea to stay alive. “Ten minutes of determined effort brought another sound to his ears—the most welcome he had ever heard—the muttering and growling of the sea breaking on a rocky shore.” In this passage, the sea is given the human ability to mutter and growl.

When Rainsford first sees the house on the island, he notices that “it was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows.” In this sentence, the sea is personified as having greedy lips that it licks. Another example of the author’s personification of the sea occurs when Rainsford is trying to escape from General Zaroff’s hounds and reaches the sea. “Twenty feet below him the sea rumbled and hissed.” In this line, the sea has the human-like ability to make a hissing sound.