The Secret Life of Bees

When rosaleen stands up to t.ray about the chick, lily says, "his boots whispered uncle all the way down the hall" what does she mean? What is the personification? How does personification help convey the author's message? In chapter 1

The secret life of bees 

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I believe that this means T Ray is admitting defeat to Rosaleen. He does not want to endure her wrath. To "cry uncle" is an idiom meaning to concede defeat. This personifies T.Ray's resignation that he can no longer use Lily to project his anxieties on: T.Ray no longer has control over Lily.