How to Write a Biography Essay (Writing Guide)
A biography is a short but elaborate description of a selected person’s life. It details and follows one’s journey from birth to the present time. An effective biography will be brief but it will also capture the most important aspects and experiences of one’s entire life. It is necessary for the biography writer to acknowledge whose life the biography is about, in the introductory part of the paper. The thesis statement will usually be in the introduction, and will summarize the individual’s ‘big picture’ and most important aspects of his or her life.
How to start a biography essay
A biography is often not always about oneself. It can be about someone else. In the latter case, one needs to gather enough data about the person whose biography is to be written. Such data can come from newspapers, internet articles, existing biographies, autobiographies, and government documents other sources. Interviewing the person’s family members, friends, and can also be critical sources of information. Once one has already established sources, he can now settle down and summarize the information in an interesting manner, in an essay form.
How to write body paragraphs for a biography essay
The body paragraphs of the essay must capture four key elements relating to the individual. First, the chronological experiences of events in his or her life are arranged in a timeline. Each significant event in the person’s life will be highlighted in an interesting manner. Not all events will be highlighted but the key aspects must be pointed out including the date and place of birth, the names of parents, siblings and close friends. Additionally, the Alma Mata will also be noted, among many other critical elements touching on early life.
One of the other important parts that must be included in a biography is the subject’s work or career progress. If the subject’s life is closely connected to their career, the writer can break up the biography into sections such that the various job positions are clearly identified. An individual who has worked in many senior positions will imply a long and detailed description of such positions and the periods for which each of such positions were occupied.
It is of utmost importance, when writing a biography, to indicate one or two features that make the person to stand out, or interesting. A comedian for instance, will be noted for his or her comic skills. A politician, a law enforcer, a teacher, a polite individual, gambler, dictator, an activist, artist, irresponsible person, entrepreneur, a daredevil among others will be identified as such. An individual can be identified as being special by their profession, character, or contribution to society in various ways.
The accomplishments must also be outlined. The biographical events touching on major accomplishments such as academic, sports, career accomplishments, among others have to be arranged in such a way that they follow and mirror each other. For instance, the writer can recognize the subject’s accomplishments by age 15, then by 30, by age 40 and so on. This has to be arranged systematically and the accomplishments must be linked to how the person’s current life is. If the person is already dead, the roles that his or her accomplishments played in the person’s later life have to be identified.
It is often a good practice when writing a biography to include flashbacks in the subject’s life. If one has noted, in the timeline that the subject excelled at college games or became a prominent professor, it is important to link this to the person’s earlier sporting or academic performance at high school or elementary level. For example, if he became a professional footballer, one must connect this with the fact that the subject previously took active part in games at high school level, as a games captain or such other notable achievements.
Furthermore, any event that changed the person’s life in one way or the other must be noted. In some instances, the subject overcame obstacles such as coming from a poor family but ending up being wealthy, such as Oprah Winfrey, or being born with major disability such as Nick Vujicic but overcoming such disability to become an influential motivational speaker and entrepreneur. Other individuals took big risks or gambles which transformed their lives. This, too, has to be noted in the biography.
How to conclude a biography essay
In conclusion, a good biography essay will brief detail the events and experiences in a person’s life. Such details need to be detailed as a narration and in prose form. Any quotes used in the biography, such as interviews, must be cited appropriately. From the information contained in the body of the biography, it should be possible to draw conclusion on whether the world would be a better or worse place if the person had not been alive. A candid biography of Adolf Hitler, for instance, will likely conclude that the world would have been a better place without him. On the other hand, a biography on Nelson Mandela, Neil Armstrong, The Wright Brothers, among other notables would point to their great role and positive contribution to society.
Outline example for a biography essay about yourself
Introduction – identification of the person whose biography is to be written.
Chronology of key events
Events that changed the person’s life
Why the person is special or interesting
Conclusion – how the world benefited from the person.
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