I am attempting to write a paper where I discuss how characters in one novel are objectified, while others in another novel are rendered sensations or are defined emotionally. Is there a word for the opposite of objectified? Sensitized? Can this word be applied to humans?

  • When you say "objectified" are you talking about Personification? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personification or maybe Anthropomorphism? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism I'm not sure what the opposite would be called, or even what an opposite would look like. Do you have an example?
    – Pete
    Dec 1, 2020 at 1:41
  • 2
    The opposite of 'objectified' would be 'treated as a (normal) human (being)'. Do we need for a word for that? There's no opposite of 'murdered'. You could say they are 'not objectified'. Dec 1, 2020 at 1:42
  • @OldBrixtonian you've clearly made a mistake, this is 2020, inventing words is the name of the game Dec 1, 2020 at 4:13
  • You may be asking for a nuanced description, as one that sees a character as an individual with good and bad, rather than a stick figure of limited dimension. Dec 1, 2020 at 4:41
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    @小奥利奥 Lexicographers are a pushover these days. Time for some pushback! Dec 1, 2020 at 5:30

1 Answer 1


Subjectification, but with a health warning.

to identify with (a subject) or interpret subjectively. - Dictionary.com

The opposite of being the object is being the subject. This is true both in grammar, and more conceptually. Therefore, subjectification is the opposite of objectification.

Published example.

However, a health warning before you run off and use it, especially in a paper. It's a fairly recent construction coming out of translations of French continental philosophy in the 1980s, particularly Foucault. (Quick overview at wikipedia). As it's not in wide use, you would have to engage specifically with those thinkers in your essay, citing a definition and showing the link to your argument. That might be more impact on your paper than you intend.

Explaining with a phrase may also be more readable. You might say that these characters come across as thinking people with complex emotional lives, instead of things.

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