Do you wonder what an autobiography is? Here you will find a clear and concise definition of autobiography, including an explanation of its main parts and features. So, let’s not waste time and dive right into the discussion.
Autobiography Definition in Simple Terms
So, what is an autobiography? An autobiography is an author’s 1st person narration about his/her own life. This is why an autobiography contains not only dates and figures, but also the author’s personal comments and impressions.
The next question to answer is what an autobiography is not. First of all, an autobiography should not be confused with a biography or memoir:
- By contrast to a biography, which can be written by other writers, an autobiography is always written by the main character of the story.
- By contrast to a memoir, which can focus on events that the author has witnessed, an autobiography always focuses on the events of the authors’ personal life.
Autobiography Definition, Patterns and Parts
An autobiography is an author’s account of his or her past experiences, usually presented in a certain form or pattern. Here are the most widely used narration patterns for autobiography writing:
- Chronological order – the events are described as they occurred – from childhood to adolescence and so on. Alternatively, a creative author can use the reverse order – from adulthood to adolescence and childhood.
- Thematic autobiography – an author chooses a main theme and then selects experiences and memories that illustrate it.
- Stream-of-consciousness – an author uses personal associations and jumps from one memory to another. However, this should be done carefully so that the readers are still able to follow the author’s train of thought, no matter how crazy that might be. For example, an author can write that s/he goes into the street, feels the odor of a cake and recollects his/her childhood experiences, because his/her granny made similar cakes.
The main building blocks of a good autobiography can include:
- factual information – dates, places, names, institutions and so on;
- family background – parents’ occupation and parenting style;
- personal information – temperament, strengths and weaknesses, relations with others;
- professional information – education, talents, achievements and aspirations;
- personal impressions – memorable experiences, favorite places, role models, first love and anything else that the author wants to share with readers;
- moral messages – directly or indirectly, an author shares his/her life views and draws certain conclusions from the depicted events (for instance, some authors discuss the lessons they learnt from particular experiences, while others try to find positive aspects in absolutely everything they discuss).
Hopefully, these simple autobiography definitions help you understand the meaning of this word. By the way, do not forget to visit other pages on this blog for more tips and help with your assignments! Have a nice day!