There are so many animal characters in our media now, from Kermit and Miss Piggy to Snoopy and Garfield, we’re surrounded by them. And not just animals. Anthropomorphism can apply to everything, from objects to ideas. Who said, ‘I could murder a curry’?
Death, of course, from Mort, by Terry Pratchett, an anthropomorphic personification if ever there was one.
If we think of Thomas the Tank Engine, Spongebob Squarepants, The Magic Pudding or even those grubby mouldy carrots in the bottom of The Young One’s fridge we can see that talking objects and plants can be used by storytellers to great entertainment effect. We all remember when hippy Neil, dressed as a police officer, walked into a tree, and was hit by the Special Branch.
POLICE CHIEF: That’s right, that’s right! Now, you practice going, “CCCCHHHHHH”. And if you don’t get it right, I kick your head in.
POLICE CHIEF: Si! Okay, now, here is the uniform [he hands Neil the uniform] take that with you, and as you go out, watch out for the Special Branch.
[Neil walks out of the station and hits his head on a tree branch] NEIL: I don’t see what’s so special about that.
TREE BRANCH: I’ve got a degree in Computer Science, that’s what.
NEIL: Oh, yeah, that’s quite special.
The third edition of the Concise Macquarie Dictionary defines anthropomorphism as: “Ascribing human form or attributes to beings or things not human, especially to a deity.” Whoa! A God?But which came first, the God or the human?
In Genesis Chapter One verse 26: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So if humans are made in God’s likeness, then are not all humans Gods? Or did God not make an exact likeness? Is it anthropomorphic to think that God can make anything at all?
Let’s talk about dominion another time, shall we? For that is at the heart of our relationship with nature!