Writing, Identity, & Queer Studies

In & Out, Either/Or, and Everything In Between


Throughout Autobiography of Red, personification is used to bring the environment around Geryon to life and allows readers to feel what Geryon felt about his surroundings. The personification gives more information about the setting Geryon is in and whether it not it has significance to Geryon’s experience. For example, in section IV. Tuesday, Carson describes the setting as, “a black January wind came flattening down from the top of the sky hitting the windows hard” (35). Giving a month (January) the characteristic/ability to flatten and hit is used to contrast the unpleasantness outside and the pleasantness inside whilst hanging out with his mom. By enabling this use of personification, we can use the negative aspect of the quote to reiterate the importance of this weekly enjoyable moment for Geryon. Another example in which personification enables readers to understand the emotions of Geryon in a certain environment is when Geryon’s brother states that their mother would not be home for hours, at which point Geryon “felt everything in the room hurl itself away from him” (31). Equipping his room the characteristic of hurling is inventive because it helps readers understand Geryon’s emotions of feeling alone and powerless when he becomes aware that he will be alone with his abusive brother. Carson’s use of personification provides readers a different understanding of Geryon’s emotions.  

1 Comment

  1. I definitely agree that Carson’s use of personification is an inventive way to understand Geryon’s emotions and his life. One thing I have noticed in the novel, which you mentioned an example of, is how often Carson personifies wind. At one point, she calls it “dark pink” (hint hint: RED!). The fact that the wind is dark pink suggests to me that the wind is somehow connected to Geryon and perhaps symbolizes him. I cannot figure out what this connection is, but it may be that both have an invisible strength to them. It seems to be an important symbol in the novel and I would love to hear Carson’s reasoning behind using it so frequently.

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