How to write a biography essay
A biography essay is a type of academic writing that tells the story of someone’s life, typically focusing on their achievements, struggles, and impact on the world.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write a compelling biography essay that engages readers and tells the story of a person’s life in a meaningful way.
Choose a person to write a biography
First you need to choose a person to write about. The person should have made significant contributions to his/her respective field. This person should also be well-known as you will need resources to find information.
For this guide, we will be writing our biography essay on French-Algerian philosopher and author Albert Camus. There’re some reasons why Albert Camus is a suitable topic for a biography essay:
Gather information on the person
You need some information about your the person you chose. While getting this information, pay attention to two main factors: the credibility of your source and what information you are putting in your essay.
Credibility of your sourceFirst, you must eliminate unreliable sources. You can evaluate the credibility by asking yourself the following questions:
If your sources check all the boxes, they are most likely reliable sources. However, if a source doesn’t have any authors, has no citation, or is poorly written, consider it risky.
Information included in the essayAvoid including unnecessary details. Coherence is crucial for academic writing, including biography essays. Ask the questions below to filter information.
You can definitely add the information if they meet these criteria. If not, it’s best to keep them out.
Use of important information on the person
Now, we will be choosing information from Albert Camus’ life story to include in our biography essay.
Create an outline
Preparing an outline is essential for biography essays just like any other essay. You can follow our typical outline preparing process in this step because biography essays also adhere to the traditional essay structure.
Biography Essay Outline Example
Albert Camus Biography Essay
- Open with a curious quote by Albert Camus
- Explain how Camus contributed to his field
- Further explore Albert Camus' stance on the field
- Present your thesis statement
- Body Paragraphs
- Topic sentence of your paragraph
- Albert's accomplishments and more personal information
- Closing sentence
- Restate your thesis statement
- Mention the importance of Albert Camus
- Finish your essay with memorable concluding sentences by highlighting Camus' importance
Important reminderThe structure above is widely known as the standard five-paragraph format, consisting of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Preparing an outline will help you put your thoughts in line.
Write an introduction
The introduction paragraph is crucial. Because you need to grab the reader’s attention at this part. This is where a hook sentence is useful. With a hook sentence, you can start your essay in multiple interesting directions for you reader:
Biography essay introduction example
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” This is a quote by French-Algerian philosopher, writer, and journalist Albert Camus. Camus was born in French Algeria on 7 November 1913. Opening: Intriguing quote that grabs the reader’s attention and summarizes Camus’ philosophy He is one of the most prominent writers of absurdist philosophical thought. Subject: A sentence which explains the subject’s contribution to their field. Through his works, Camus contributed to the rise of the absurdist philosophy, which was essentially a response to nihilism. Stance: Further explanation of the subject’s stance on the field He wrote works that conveyed an abiding faith in the human race’s displaced but still righteous situation. Thesis statement: You highlight your stand and main focus of the essay.
Biography essay body paragraphs
This is the section where the results of your research come in. Like other types of essays, body paragraphs are the central part of your biography essay (see biography essay example).
Through these paragraphs, you will discuss the milestones in your subject’s life, their accomplishments, and their works.
Biography essay body paragraph example
During his literary career, Camus published his works in three cycles. In each cycle, he published a novel, an essay, and a play. The first cycle of his works was on “the absurd,” and they were published from 1942 to 1944. Topic sentence: Further exploration of the claim presented in the introduction. This cycle’s works were some of his most significant works: The Stranger as the novel, The Myth of Sisyphus as the essay, and Caligula as the play. Camus also explored the concepts “the revolt” and “the love” through the cycle structure. Subject’s accomplishments: Reveal of the subject’s extensive work on the field Through his major works, Camus earned the Nobel Prize for Literature, and he then published his work named Algerian Chronicles. This work revealed his pacifist tendencies. Personal information: Brief introduction into the subject’s personal reflections. After Camus’ death, two more works of his were released. One is his novel titled A Happy Death and an unfinished autobiographical novel named The First Man. Some of the significant themes Camus explores through his literary career are alienation, rebellion, and guilt. Closing sentence: Information on the subject’s identity.
Biography essay conclusion
In your conclusion paragraph, what you need to do is to bring in your final thoughts. Do not make the mistake (see common mistakes) of only repeating the claims you made throughout the essay.
As an alternative, you can choose to tie your subject’s legacy into the current day. You can ask yourself these questions to figure out what to say in your conclusion paragraph:
Biography essay conclusion example
Camus died on 4 January 1960, when he was only 46 years old. He died in a car crash, and many scholars point out the “absurdity” of his death. Restatement: Connection with the subject’s main works Since Camus himself had previously stated that the most absurd way of dying he could think of would be a car accident, people regard his death as ironic. Today, Albert Camus is still considered to be one of the most significant thinkers of Western philosophy. Importance of the person: The subject’s relevancy today He is acknowledged as one of the most critical contributors of the absurdist philosophy. He is referred to as one of the best literary writers of his genre and one of the best thinkers of his age. Closing statement: Concluding sentences by highlighting the subject’s influence
Now you know all the separate parts of a biography essay and how to create them. Remember that these steps can be used in all academic essays.
Before closing this article, let’s have a look at an extensive biography essay example on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, you see below.
5-Paragraph Biography Essay Example
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: The Modernizer of Turkey
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, born in 1881 in Selanik, Ottoman Empire (now Thessaloniki, Greece), was a military officer, revolutionary, and founder of the Republic of Turkey. An informative hook sentence He played a critical role in transforming Turkey from a traditional Islamic society into a secular, modern state. This essay will explore the life, career, and legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Background info One may highlight that his leadership and reforms have been celebrated as a model for developing nations worldwide. Thesis statement
As a young officer in the Ottoman Army, Atatürk distinguished himself during the Balkan Wars and World War I. In 1919, he led a national resistance movement against the Allied Powers that eventually led to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Early life As the country's first president, he initiated a series of reforms that aimed to modernize and secularize Turkey's political, legal, and educational systems. He abolished the Ottoman caliphate, replaced Islamic law with European-style civil codes, and introduced a new alphabet based on the Latin script.Military career and service
Atatürk's commitment to secularism and modernization was rooted in his belief that Turkey could only prosper by breaking with its Ottoman past and embracing Western culture and values. He promoted women's rights, encouraged industrialization and urbanization, and created a new sense of national identity that was based on Turkish language and culture rather than religion or ethnicity. His vision of Turkey His hope of a secular, modern state with a strong centralized government has had a profound and lasting impact on Turkey's political and cultural landscape. Impact of his vision
Despite Atatürk's significant achievements, his legacy remains the subject of debate in Turkey and beyond. Topic sentence: Controversy Critics argue that his authoritarian style of governance and aggressive pursuit of modernization came at the expense of traditional Turkish culture and values. Others see him as a visionary leader who helped modernize Turkey and position it as a regional power in the Middle East. Nevertheless, Atatürk remains a revered figure in Turkish history and continues to influence the country's political discourse. Debate surrounding his legacy
In conclusion, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a transformative figure in Turkish history who played a critical role in modernizing and secularizing the country.Recap of his achievements While his legacy remains the subject of debate, there is no denying the importance of his vision and the impact it has had on Turkish society.Acknowledgements and debate surrounding his legacy His leadership and reforms have left a lasting impact on Turkey's and other developing nations' political and cultural landscape.Restating thesis Atatürk's commitment to secularism, modernization, and national identity continue to shape Turkey's political and cultural discourse to this day. Final thought & last impression
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you start a biography essay?
Start your biography essay by giving a general information about your subject, such as their profession or importance.
What is biography example?
Biography is a literary work in which a person's life is narrated. They are based on facts, and the main purpose of them is educating people about well-known individuals.
How do you write an outline for a biography?
A proper biography outline should include details about the information that will be presented in the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
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