Investigative Portrait

Essay #2: Investigative Portrait

Format: Times New Roman, 12 pt Font, Double Spaced

Length: 5 – 7 pages

Your first essay reflective narrative asked you to position yourself before a driving question as it related to an experience from your past, and then utilize exposition, in-scene writing (evidence) and reflection (analysis) to arrive closer to understanding (reverse thesis). Now, your second essay asks you to position yourself before a driving question as it relates to another person or place, and then, utilize the very same skills with the addition of external research to illuminate some truth(s) about your subject.

Notice how the writers we have studied focus closely on ultra-specific details, observations, dialogue and reflections to create round, fully realized portraits. By the end of the essay, we feel we, too, have spent time with the subject; that we, too, know this person, or this place. Notice, as well, how each writer weaves research into their portrait (they ask, Who else knows about my subject? or What is the history here?), as well as how these portraits ultimately become microcosms for a larger community, cultural shift, concern or idea. By zooming in so closely when interviewing, journeying and observing and by zooming out with honed research skills we might arrive at more personal, as well as universal, knowledge.