Personification: Reference to abstractions or inanimate objects as though they had human qualities or abilities. The English term for prosopopeia (pro-so-po-pe’-i-a) or ethopoeia (e-tho-po’-ia): the description and portrayal of a character (natural propensities, manners and affections, etc.).

The onions said nothing, but they made me cry. Maybe they were telling me that silence isn’t golden after all. Or maybe I wasn’t crying. Maybe my eyes were just irritated by the onion as I chopped it into little pieces. My knife said “Go Johnny, mince that little sucker!” Then I thought: There’s violence in the kitchen—the ruthless cutting, peeling, poking, boiling, baking, sautéing, frying, chopping, tossing, pounding. Meat, fish, vegetables, birds, it doesn’t matter. Then I thought: OMG, smoothies! Whirring razor-sharp blades slashing solids into liquids.

There is violence up and down the vegetable food chain. Yanking a happy red tomato off its vine. Digging a snug russet potato up by its roots. Cutting a resting rhubarb leaf away from its mother plant. Ripping young corn cobs from their trembling stalks. Thrashing helpless grain.

But hey, we’ve got to eat.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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