There are different types of autobiographies. Each type tells stories for their own purposes, whether it be catharsis or entertainment that they serve in some way.
In this blog, we will give you a brief overview of the different types and styles of autobiographies. From personal to expository or scholarly, there are many ways an individual can tell their life story in writing that captures both narrative style and content.
If your assignment is focused on autobiography, read more about each type. So that not only do you know what's expected but also have some examples available for inspiration.
What is an Autobiography?
Autobiography is the story of a person’s life written by him/herself. The purpose of writing an autobiography is to let others know who you are and what your experiences have been like so far.
The reason for writing an autobiography is that not many people have ordinary lives. Most autobiographies are written by those who've achieved greatness or endured traumatic experiences.
The purpose of writing an autobiography can vary. Choose the one that best suits your needs and style using different types.
You may need a chronological account to tell what happened in order. Or, you might want something more creative if it is going to be read by others rather than yourself. If there are some things about your life you're not proud of, then consider taking this opportunity for self-reflection as well.
Main Types of Autobiography
Do you want to tell your life story in a traditional way, or would you rather spice things up? Find out which type of autobiography is best for what you're looking for.
It can be difficult choosing the right one if they all sound so great! Here's an overview:
- Full Autobiography
In a full autobiography, an author’s entire life is shared. This type of writing is often chosen by authors who believe that their life is more interesting or different than others. Examples include The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and The Story of My Life.
A memoir focuses on a specific time, experience, or an important part of your life. But what sets it apart from other types of books is that they focus on a certain aspect - be it a specific part, important moment, theme, or relationship.
Memoirs have been written by both non-fiction writers and fiction authors alike. Examples include David Sedaris' "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces.”
- Personal Essay
The personal essay is a very intimate form of autobiography. It focuses on the style and tone rather than an exciting storyline. It revolves around one specific event from your life, but you should always be sure to explore that experience in detail.
An example of this type of writing would be "Once More To The Lake" by E. B. White or Virginia Woolf's "The Death Of A Moth."
A confessional autobiography is an interesting way to open up and share some of your secrets. Margery Kempe, a famous English Christian mystic, wrote about her life in The Book of Margery Kempe: A New Translation by Traupman (1996). Enea Silvio Piccolomini writes his story starting with Confessions of St. Augustine, written in 1458, which could be considered one of the first examples from this genre as well.
- Psychological Illness
Autobiographies of psychological illness are a necessary therapeutic tool for those who have gone through any mental illness. For example, in The Body Papers by Grace Talusan, we see a woman's story about her traumatic experience with abuse and mental health problems. In this book, she takes us on the journey towards healing from childhood trauma to present-day recovery as an adult survivor living with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
- Overcoming Adversity
Many people face different challenges in their lives. Writing about such experiences has helped them feel better. It also helps them convey their learnings from life's struggles to their readers. Some such autobiographies include A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca, and I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou.
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Types of Autobiography in Literature
Here are the different types of autobiography in literature.
In a thematic autobiography, the life of your subject is not really at the center but rather some other issue. The writer's goal for writing this type of autobiographical piece should be to present information in an interesting and unusual way.
This spiritual autobiography is more than a timeline of the author's life. It, rather, tells his story through rich detail. It narrates his evident connection to God that we can all relate to in one way or another.
In an intellectual autobiography, you explore your deepest thoughts on life and how they have changed over time. This is a journey that has shaped you into who you are today.
The fictional genre is one of the most common forms of writing in the United states. In this type of autobiography, an author's experiences are narrated. But, they’ve been altered so that real people remain anonymous.
You can choose from a number of different styles when writing an autobiography. The most popular types are mentioned above.
It's not easy to cover all the facts and still create an exciting story. Reading autobiographies of famous people is one way you might get inspired to write about your life.
You can also get the help of our professional writers at MyPerfectPaper.net to write your autobiography, if you don't have an interesting life story in mind.
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Frequently asked questions
What are the elements of autobiography?
Here are the key elements to include in an autobiography.
- date and place of the birth
- current located
- educational background
- professional experience
- major achievements
- area of expertise
What's the main purpose of an autobiography?
The purpose of an autobiography is to describe the life experiences and achievements of a person. This includes their childhood, adulthood, accomplishments, etc.
Nowadays, there are many autobiographies written in one's lifetime; people often want to reflect on what they did with their lives before it becomes too late or when many key events have already happened.
What is the difference between biography and autobiography?
A biography is an in-depth story about someone's life. It would contain their struggles, accomplishments, and failures, as well as the moments that composed who they are now. An autobiography, on the other hand, is a text written by oneself with similar content to what one might find in a biography but from your perspective instead of another person’s point of view.