An autobiographical essay is the essay that only you can write; it is a personal narrative, it presents a story of your life from the perspective of what you perceive to be the most formative events. As such, the information that you present, and that way that you present it, should be intuitive to structure. So, how do you go about writing an autobiographical essay? Try to remember these essentials:
Before you begin writing, you need to consider where you will begin, and where you will end. Obviously, the narrative should begin when you are young, and end at the point of writing. But, history, even personal history, is not objective, and you need to decide how to frame your story. For example, we were all born, and this is not interesting. Try to fit in an anecdote, from a family member, about how your personality as a baby is still present now: ‘Sally was always determined to explore the world, when she was a baby she would be crawling off as soon as I turned my back!’.
You need to decide what personality and what character you want to present. Above, we began with the idea that Sally was adventurous. We could take this as the narrative; Sally became a tour guide in Africa. So, how would you plot a story around life events that would show how this side of her developed? Sally could say: ‘when I was 10, I remember going into a forest, and wondering what forests were like in other parts of the world’.
The context of the story is always the point at which you are now writing, everything in a personal narrative should lead to this moment. Think of your life as a story, and keep in mind the character that you are, and that your narrative is building. Always use examples and facts from your history that support who you are now.
So, this kind of essay is the kind that you take yourself as subject. We all like talking about ourselves, so make the most of this opportunity to tell your personal story. No one is going to contradict your sources!
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