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K12 LibreTexts

1.2: Person

  • Page ID
    6514
  • Like any other descriptive essay, the most important aspect of a person essay is the reason for writing it. Have you ever read a book or article for school wondering what the point is? Perhaps, even feeling disinterested because of what you felt was a lack of point or reason for reading or even writing the book, poem, article, etc.? Essentially, the same can be true for your own essays if you do not write with a purpose. In choosing the person you want to write about, you have a reason for the choice you have made. It is your job as the writer to show the reader your point. Why have you chosen this person instead of another? What makes them interesting? You must draw your readers into your essays just as every other author draws their readers into their work, even if your only audience is your teacher. Remember, teachers do not like reading pointless essays any more than you do!

    Thus, whenever writing a descriptive essay about a person, you must ask yourself: Why did I choose this person? What makes this person special? Is it a memory? Which of this person’s characteristics has inspired me to write about him or her? In answering these questions, you not only find the reason or purpose for writing your essay, but you also inadvertently discover how to format your essay as well. Generally, essays can be formatted in a number of different ways. The formatting of an essay rests almost entirely on what you are trying to do or to say within your paper. For instance, let us consider the answer to some of the questions provided above.

    Imagine that you have decided to write your descriptive essay about your aunt because you spent your summers with her when you were younger. Let’s say that during one of your visits to her house, she taught you how to swim in the lake behind her house, and this is one of the fondest memories from your childhood. In this case, your descriptive essay would be a chronological account of this experience. You would organize your essay around the experience by having an introduction and conclusion that indicate the topic and purpose of your essay while detailing the event in the body of the essay. For instance, in a descriptive essay about your aunt, the introduction and conclusion would indicated that this memory was the highlight of your childhood while the body paragraphs would describe the event in chronological order. Since this is a descriptive essay about a person and not an event, you must be sure to center your discussion of the event on the person involved, the person who made the event special.

    However, you could also write a descriptive essay about your aunt that details some of your favorite characteristics about her. Perhaps you want your essay to describe a few reasons why your aunt is your favorite relative. In this essay, you would focus on the several characteristics that show why your aunt is so special. To do so, you may choose to explain briefly an event that supports one characteristic. For instance, if you want show that your aunt is spontaneous and that this is one of your favorite things about her, you may choose to describe a day when she woke you up early to take you on an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trip to the beach. Through describing this event in one of your body paragraphs, you help support your claim that your aunt is spontaneous.

    Consider the chart below and how each essay would be organized.
    Organization Type Characteristics Event
    Criteria
    1. Spontaneous
    2. Fun Loving
    3. Easy Going
    The summer your aunt taught you to swim is one of your fondest childhood memories.
    Explanation You would organize your paper around the main reasons why your aunt is your favorite relative with each of these characteristics serving as a body paragraph. You would organize your paper around this event and how it has made your aunt more important to you.

    Review Questions

    1. Write a person descriptive essay about a person in your family following one of the organizational schemes listed above.
    2. Write a person descriptive essay about an important person in history using the event organization. Instead of indicating how the person is important to you, indicate how the person is important or significant within history.