How to Write an Essay About Someone

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There is no such thing as an objective essay, and this is particularly true when you are writing about someone. If you are writing a personal essay about someone in your life, you probably already have strong feelings about him or her, and these feelings will color your observations. Even if you are writing an essay about a historical figure, the observations and interpretations you make will be colored by your morals and values. Strive to be objective but also strive to be honest about where your observations come from. Knowing your own perspective will strengthen your essay.

  • Research materials (if writing about a historical figure) Sound recorder

1 Do any required research

Do any required research. If you are writing your essay about a historical figure, you will have to take a trip to the library and possibly do some online research as well. If you are writing about a family member or friend, you may wish to interview other people about the person. Bring a sound recorder along, as well as a paper and a pencil to write down observations

2 Introduce the essay

Introduce the essay with an anecdote or story that reflects how you feel about the subject. If it is someone close to you, you could tell about a time the person did or said something that shows the type of person he or she is. If your essay is about a historical figure, it could be a famous quote or an episode from her life. This will get the reader interested and help you establish the direction of your essay.

3 Go into more detail about the subject

Go into more detail about the subject. Write concretely about the event you wrote about and how it related to the subject. Explore when he said or did it and under what circumstances. If your subject is a historical figure, you will have to give some historical information so the reader understands the person's actions. If your subject is someone who you know personally, you may have to give some biographical information for the same reason.

4 Show the subject

Show what the subject taught you if it is someone you knew. Maybe the experience taught you a central lesson or maybe you were affected by the course of your relationship. Perhaps the subject hurt you in some way, in which case you should show what you learned from that encounter. If the subject is a historical figure, show how history was affected by him or her. If the person was a positive figure, did he or she serve as an example to later generations, or did his or her accomplishments enable later, greater accomplishments? If the person was a villain, what evils did his or her actions enable?

5 Carefully proofread your essay

Carefully proofread your essay. If this is a personal essay about someone you knew, you can write it in a relaxed, conversational tone, but do not get sloppy. Avoid slang and idioms as much as possible and make sure that your grammar and punctuation are correct. If your essay is about a historical figure, you will need to use formal language.

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.