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Elements of an Autobiography

An autobiography is the true story of a person's life written by that same person.  Writers reveal the effects of certain events on their lives.  Here are some important elements of autobiography.


Characters are well developed in detail and are true-to-life.

Setting is described vividly.

Details are interesting.  Writers of autobiographies use objective and subjective details and anecdotes to tell their life stories.

Chronological order is the order in which real-life events occur and the order in which most writers of autobiographies tell their stories.  Often events are arranged from childhood to adulthood.


Point of View is the perspective from which an autobiography is written.  Since autobiographies are written by their subjects, they are told from the first-person point of view and use the pronouns I, me, and mine.  Readers experience events through the writer's eye-- knowing only what they think and feel about any given experience.


Author's Purpose is the author's reason for writing.  Authors of autobiographies often want to make sense of events in their lives and to communicate an important personal statement about life.  They may also want to give credit to people who influence them.  Controversial individuals often write autobiographies to explain or justify their actions.


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