The Descriptive Profile

Assignment: Write a 2-4 page essay in which you tell a story or stories about someone you know in order to create a dominant impression. (The minimum length is two FULL pages.)

Choose a person to describe. The subject must be someone you know, such as a friend, a relative, a teacher, a mentor, etc. This is because this essay does not use documentation; you are only writing from first-hand knowledge. (If you were writing a profile of Mariah Carey, for example, you would need to provide documentation for any biographical information you mention because you do not know Mariah Carey personally. Therefore, no celebrities are allowed as subjects.)

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You cannot not choose your mother, father, or a child. The essay will receive a zero if it is on one of these.

Remember that your essay will need a point: Why are you describing this person? What is your thesis? Name your specific subject in the thesis statement.

You may write in first person. Do not write in 2nd person. Essays that use second person will be docked one letter grade.

In addition to using sensory details, use at least one example of each of the 4 types of figurative language discussed in the notes: simile, metaphor, personification, and allusion. Both the rough draft and final draft must be typed and in MLA format.

This is not a biography of your subject. Instead, you will use narrative to create a dominant impression. In other words, tell a story or a series of short incidents that capture who the person is. Do not start with “John was born in…,” and the goal is not to write the subject’s life story. Instead, tell a story about your subject or a few short episodes in their life, using narrative.

The most difficult part of this assignment is often choosing the right subject. This can be a person you know well, a person you love, or a person you despise. (Remember, a dominant impression can be either positive or negative!) It can be someone you remember fondly from childhood, someone who made you afraid, someone you had a crush on, or someone who hurt you. It can be your best friend, your roommate, your next-door neighbor, an interesting person you met recently, or anyone else you can think of.

Here are just a few examples of successful subjects students have chosen in the past:

an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend (A dominant impression does not have to be positive!)
a best friend with a quirky personality (We all have that one friend we talk about…)
a coach with a tough persona
a friend who works with the homeless (Someone who has a remarkable character will make a great subject.)
a boyfriend who was a high school football star
a friend who always got into trouble
Think about someone you know well. This should be someone you already tell stories about. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to say about your subject, just pick someone else!

When choosing a subject, ask yourself how you will make this person interesting to an audience. Begin by brainstorming specific details and stories about this person; this will help you craft a dominant impression.

Step 1: Choose a subject and brainstorm

Step 2: Complete a sketch outline: introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion

Step 3: Write your thesis statement

Step 4: Flesh out the outline with specific details

Step 5: Write the essay

Step 6: Revise and edit (at least twice)

Due Dates:

We will not write a rough draft for this essay. The final draft is due by midnight on July 19.

This may help you get started:

My Subject:___________________________________

What is my purpose for writing this essay? Why is this person interesting?

Which pre-writing technique(s) will I use to generate ideas?
listing / brainstorming freewriting questioning clustering

What are some of my favorite memories of my subject? When did they make me happy? Sad? Angry? What story do I tell most often about my subject?

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