Literary Essay Sample: Jamal Wallace Description

Published: 2022-09-28
Literary Essay Sample: Jamal Wallace Description
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Character analysis American literature
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 470 words
4 min read

In James Ellison's "Finding Forrester", the main character is Jamal Wallace, a young boy living in the Bronx. Jamal finds an unlikely relationship with William Forrester who lives in solitary and teaches him much about life. The following paper provides a description of Jamal while focusing on his appearance, age, personality, and behavior. Also, the motives and decisions of this character will be highlighted.

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Regarding appearance, Jamal is a young black boy full of energy. The boy is sixteen years old and has a passion for writing. His mixed parentage made Jamal face mockery and prejudice from his friends and strangers as well. However, the young African American man does not give up despite the hardships he faces. Jamal's personality can be described as resilient, creative and strong-willed. Despite his young age, the boy has already experienced the worst of adults. He has an absentee father, ignorant friends in addition to an abusive professor. An example demonstrating the poor treatment of Jamal is when Forrester is given a chance to do his reading and he says; "I spoke here today because a friend of mine wasn't allowed to... His name is Jamal Wallace" (Ellison, 2008, p. 33). Nevertheless, despite all these circumstances, he still has the strength to follow his passion. Although the young man has not studied literary writing, he has grist and spirit to achieve great things. Thus, he never allows someone's assumptions to limit his abilities. Additionally, Jamal has the behavior of going outside and interacting with his colleagues from school. He also participates in basketball games

Furthermore, the motives and decisions of Jamal are displayed by his reaction to harassment from his friends, some of whom do not like him at all, like his black basketball peer. When harassed by a fellow student while playing basketball, he controls his reaction since his motive is to have positive interactions with friends. Consequently, Jamal makes a decision to prove his ability to perform as well as his colleagues, which earned him respect from other students and the coach as well. Also, he shows his motives to excel in life through his persistence in a career as a writer despite efforts to depict him as just an athlete. Apparently, this is evident when Ellison writes that "they don't care what he can put down on paper" (Ellison, 2008, p. 64). From this statement, it is clear that often, Jamal was viewed as one who can only succeed in athletics.

Therefore, it is evident that Jamal, who the main character is in "Finding Forrester", is strong in both personality and behavior. Additionally, the motives and decisions of the young boy play a critical role in helping him break the mockery and prejudice boundaries in his life.


Ellison, J. W. (2008). Finding Forrester a novel. Vancouver: Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired.

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