What are the characteristics of an autobiography?

Expert Answers info

mrshh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write992 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

A biography is the true story of a person's life. An autobiography is the true story of a person's life when it is written by that person. The author writes about him- or herself in an autobiography. Autobiographies are typically written in the first person because of this.

Like a biography, an autobiography usually tells about the important events in a person's life in chronological order. Important details can include places where the author has lived, important people in the author's life, and life-changing events that the author experienced. When an autobiography is told in chronological order, the author usually writes about the circumstances of their birth, childhood experiences, and educational background. Anecdotes about these life stages and experiences are common.  

Autobiographies are often about people who have achieved some level of fame. In this case, parts of the autobiography would explain the author's rise or journey to fame. The author's career is usually discussed, as is if they married or had children. Some autobiographies are written by young adults, while others are written later in life. For example, Helen Keller wrote her autobiography, The Story of My Life, when she was a student in college. She went on to live for over fifty years after her autobiography was published.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

djbutler241 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write51 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

An autobiography is an account of one's life written by oneself. This means that if you wrote an autobiography, the person who is the topic of the paper would be you! As far as characteristics of an autobiography, it would contain many of the same topics as a biography. An autobiography often includes the date and place of birth, stories from childhood or a young age, and may include a difficult time in one's life or great accomplishments. While it is not necessary, most autobiographies are written in first-person. The first-person point of view is when an author uses words like "me" and "I" and makes it obvious that the author is also the character in the story. Autobiographies do not have any length specifications. They can be the length of a novel, or they can be much shorter. It all depends on what part of his or her life the author intends to write about. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial