Picking A Topic or Theme for an Autobiographical Essay

Friday, November 13, 2009

Autobiographical writing assignments are essays or research papers which explain or evaluate a particular subject with reference to the writer’s experiences. If you have been asked to write an autobiographical essay, there are certain things which can help you handle the project well.

First and foremost, check your guidelines to see how much liberty you have with the technical aspects of the project. Figure out what the objective of your professor was, in assigning an autobiographical essay to you instead of a normal one. Usually the aim of such a project is to enhance the students’ power to evaluate a situation by using his or her experiences as a source. Even though it sounds very easy, it is not exactly so.

If you have been given the option of choosing a topic for yourself, you need to spend some time to think about it and choose a good topic which you can turn into an interesting essay. Since the task is to look into your own life, it can get difficult to concentrate on a particular theme. But focus is absolutely necessary for this type of assignment, especially when you are choosing the topic.

Narrating random incidents from your life is not difficult but finding an experience which others would find interesting and worth listening to, is the tough part. It is quite natural to feel that each of your life’s experiences is more impressive and interesting than the rest. But since you cannot give your entire life history in an autobiographical essay, you have to close in on one single experience which is interesting and enlightening at the same time.

To make sure that your essay has served some kind of a purpose, ask yourself:

  • Why would you tell a group of students or teachers about this particular incident?
  • What is there, in the story, that might be of interest to anyone other than yourself?

You may check the conclusion of your essay to figure out what point it has managed to convey or what fact it has established. If your conclusion sounds empty and you fail to find anything relevant to fill it with, then you might as well reconsider the topic you have chosen and rewrite the essay.

Remember that an interesting essay is not what sounds interesting to you but that which appeals to the reader or the audience. To make your essay interesting, you have to apply your narration skills while preparing the draft. And for that, you may follow these simple tips:

  • Do not give away too much in the introduction.
  • Conclude the story before the conclusion.
  • Do not discuss the essence of your essay, the way you discuss the moral of a story.
  • Convey the moral indirectly, in an interesting way, in the conclusion.

While handling an academic writing assignment, pay due attention to your written language, because the presentation of a topic is very important.

A good autobiographical essay should have an introduction which will make the reader eager to read on, body paragraphs which are enlightening and a conclusion which can leave a lasting impression on the reader.

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