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A profile essay focuses on a person, place or interesting activity. You want the essay to attract an audience that doesn't know a lot about your subject. The reader should have a general understanding of the topic afterward with some specific details that entice them to want to learn more.
In this lecture, you will learn the following:
- learn the purpose and audience of the profile
- how to organize your profile essay
- the role you will take in an observation
- how to create a dominant impression
[[Next|Purpose]]The <b>purpose</b> of the profile paper is to share with your audience an intimate and maybe informal perspective on an intriguing topic. This may be easier said than done.
Think of it this way--if your <b>audience</b> is someone that wants to learn about something they don't know about, ask yourself what you would read? Is there a place you always wanted to learn more about? Do you have an interesting relative? Do you participate in an unusual activity?
Just some things to think about as we push forward. Now, let's talk about how to organize your essay.
[[Next|Organize]]Profile can be organized as a narrative or in topics.
Taking a narrative approach can read like a guided tour if you plan to profile a place. You will use phrases like "I climbed down the trail" or "The entrance looked uninviting with leaves covering the front."
In other words, you want to describe the place or explain what you are doing.
If you take the approach to organize with topics, you will have more traditional transitions and it may deliver the information more efficiently. You could have a paragraph about the background or history of a person, place or activity. Then you could provide the current status.
Much of the decision on how to organize will come from how you plan to integrate field research. As we push forward, think about what approach would be better as you decide your topic.
[[Next|Impression]]All of these decisions will effect the <b>dominant impression</b>.
A dominant impression is created through description and narration. You as a writer should develop a perspective on the topic and convey it through careful word choice and tone.
For example, in Brian Cable's "The Last Stop," he describes his tour at a mortuary: "I was apprehensive as I climbed the stone steps to the entrance. I feared rejection or, worse, an invitation to come and stay." It sets the tone that he is similar to the general public--most of us don't want to stay too long at a mortuary. Cable uses narrative to describe where he is at. His apprehension and appreciation for what funeral directors accomplish is also threaded throughout his article as he ends, "I..am all too happy to let someone else handle them."
Now, let's try to find the dominant impression in Adichie's story. Read the profile essay about Lagos, Nigeria. What are your impressions of Lagos? Share on the Padlet.