Eyes Without a Face

In the latest installment of Craft Capsules, Allegra Hyde, author of Eleutheria, forthcoming from Vintage in March, writes about “face pareidolia,” a scientific term for the phenomenon of humans seeing faces in inanimate objects. Hyde finds evidence of this behavior used as a literary technique in a range of works from Homer’s The Odyssey to Alexandra Kleeman’s novel Something New Under the Sun (Hogarth, 2021), in which water is given “a human-like motive, which heightens the drama of the overall description.” This week, write a story that employs the personification, either literal or metaphorical, of an inanimate object. Whether it’s the clouds in the sky or a desk lamp, how does this human impulse to see ourselves help us better understand the world?