In a profile, the writer offers an extended look at one person, and the subject of the writing is that person, not the author. Like the personal essay, the profile relies heavily on narrative development (or storytelling), as well as on observation as a source of information. Unlike the personal essay, though, the profile also relies on interview as a source of information. These interviews—as well as the writers’ observation—allow readers to “see” the subject for him or herself. Not only that, the subject of the profile becomes representative of something larger—a specific community, an idea, or a social issue.
For this assignment, you will write a profile of someone who strikes you both as an interesting individual person and as a representative, in some ways, of a larger group, idea, or issue. How can a profile connect the subject to some larger idea or type? Think about that person in terms of career, personality, hobbies, race, gender, age, class, personal experiences, locations of residence, familial relationships, etc. You are trying to answer two questions: What is unique about this person? And what is representative about this person?
A profile is not an argument, not a biography, and not a typed-up transcript of an interview. Your goal in the profile is to represent the subject accurately with a view to connect your specifics with some larger ideas, dramatizing the details towards your point. The primary method of developing your profile is through narrative (stories) and quotations. You should plan to use several stories about your subject and quotations from the interview. You will not be able to capture all of the details of your subject’s life; instead, you must focus on a particular aspect of your subject.
In any case, you should pick a subject about which you want to know more. You should pick a subject who inspires your curiosity. In many ways, the selection of your subject is the most critical stage in the writing process for your second LC. You will have two options for your profile subject: a real person or a fictional character.
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