Al was a kind-hearted but strong boy who didn't like the idea of hurting people. He is also described as big, warm, and clumsy. He transferred to Dauntless from Candor because he admired their bravery. His parents' admiration for the Dauntless also influenced his decision. He also seemed to be very sensitive as he cried all the time for his parents.
Al was described by Tris as soft and fragile in personality, and he's the first one to break down during their first night in the Dauntless dormitory. When they fought against other initiates during the first phase, he defeated Will by knocking him unconscious and was so afraid of doing the same to the others, that he lost all other fights. The only reason he wasn't cut was because Edward and Myra both quit the process, allowing him to advance forward.
When Eric made Christina hang off the railing of the chasm for five minutes as a punishment, Al encouraged her not to let go, and even pulled her to safety once she was done. Al began to form a crush on Tris and seemed sad when Four spoke to her privately.
In the second stage of initiation, Tris notices that Al seems broken by the fear tests. During this period, Al experiences night terrors, often waking up screaming. Even though Al had a crush on Tris, he was twisted by jealousy, bitterness, desperation, and depression. Al joins Peter Hayes and Drew in their attempt to murder Tris, though it is unlikely that Al wanted to do anything more than scare Tris. Tris smells his signature sage and lemongrass smell, that is mentioned many times in the book, and finds that Al is trying to scare/kill her to get rid of his jealousy. She was in the way of his way to the top of the score boards. During the assault, Al tries to make them stop, indicating he didn't want to hurt Tris. The sound if him fighting off Drew and Peter attracted Four's attention and he came and saved Tris. Al later apologizes for his actions, but Tris is unwilling to accept his apology, and rejects his friendship. She even goes as stating that if he ever came near her again, she would kill him. Depressed, afraid, and remorseful, Al jumped into the chasm, ending his life. In the aftermath of Al's death, Tris calls his suicide selfish when Eric calls it courageous. Tris was saying that if he was truly brave, he would have admitted his mistake and left Dauntless instead of taking his own life. However, Tris was still upset by his death and blamed herself for his suicide. She even said "I should have forgiven him". When Tris told Four that Al would not have committed suicide if she forgave him, Four says that they all could have done more and that they just have to let the guilt remind them to do better next time.
Al is the largest and broadest of all the initiates. He is big, warm, and clumsy. He has a kind face and very dark brown eyes with thick eyebrows. He looks older than sixteen, especially because of the roughness of his cheek which show that without shaving he would have a beard. He has a distinct sweet and fresh smell, like sage and lemongrass, which is how Tris identifies him as the one who put his hand over her mouth in the kidnapping/attempted murder. To feel more like he belongs, he gets a tattoo of a spider. He is half a foot taller than Will and twice as broad. Everything about him is big; big eyes and big nose. Because of this he is compared to a bear.
After his body is recovered from the chasm, his eyes are described as open and empty. His lips are blue, his body is swollen with water, and he appears inhuman. When someone closes his eyes to make him look asleep, Tris says to Christina that there's no point because you know that they're dead. In the film, Al is seen being recovered from the Chasm and put on the floor. Later, Four confronts Tris about his death, apologizing.