How to write a Biographical essay about someone

how to write biographical essay about yourself and how to write a good autobiography essay about yourself
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Comment Page 372 Wednesday, May 2, 2007 3:43 PM Narrative Essay Biographical Essay  Introduction In a biographical essay, you write about the life and personality of a For a review of the steps in the writing process, see the person who actually lived. A biographical essay should have the Historian’s Toolkit, Write Like following characteristics: a Historian. •a real-life subject  a thesis statement that states a specific idea about that person’s life and achievements  an account of one or more major events in the subject’s life  a description of the subject’s key character traits Assignment On the following pages, you will learn how to write a biographical essay. You will get step-by-step instructions. Each step will include an example from a sample essay discussing the life of George Washington. Read the instructions and the examples. Then, follow each step to plan and write a 500–700 word essay. Discuss one of the historical people from Unit 3. Review his or her most important contribution to the nation, giving reasons for your choice.  Prewriting Choose your subject. Choose a person whose life seems especially appealing to you. Once you have decided on a subject, make notes about what you already know about his or her life and personality. 372 Unit 3 S Sa ample notes about mple notes about G Geor eorge W ge Washington ashington  “father of his country father of his country”  “first in war first in war, first in peace , first in peace, first in the hear , first in the hearts of his ts of h countrymen countrymen”  Wa Was shington hington’s father was a s father was a w we ealthy Vir althy Virginia ginia planter plante .  W Washington fought in ashington fought in the F the Fr rench and Indian W ench and Indian Wa ar r.  led disor led disorganized, poor ganized, poorly funded ly funded Continental army in Continental army in the Rev the Revolution against better-tr olution against better-trained, better-funded ained, better funded pr professional Br ofessional British soldiers itish soldiers  struggled with Continental Congr struggled with Continental Congress for money ess for money  encounter encountered many tough ed many tough situations as situations as P Pr resident and esident and knew each decisi knew each decision would hav on would have impact on the fut e impact on the futur ure e  the nation faced financial pr the nation faced financial problems: debt cr oblems: debt crisis isis, , Hamilton Hamilton’s plan s plan  faced other crise faced other crises: Whiskey Rebell s: Whiskey Rebellion, conflict in ion, conflict in Nor Northw thwest T est Territory erritory, Eur , European war opean wars Page 373 Wednesday, May 2, 2007 2:06 PM Gather information. Once you have reviewed what you know, think about what areas of this person’s life you would like to focus on. Then, write down some questions to help you direct your research. Draw conclusions. Based on your research, make some decisions about your subject’s personality. What did he or she value most? Is there a connection between your subject’s character traits and his or her role in history? Write a thesis statement. You Sample thesis statement: have learned more about your subject George Washington was not a very and reflected on his or her life and imaginative man, but he had a practical, steady mind—a quality personality. You are ready to write a that was necessary to give stability thesis statement. to our new nation.  Drafting Decide how to organize your writing. The simplest way to organize a biographical essay is to cover the main events of the subject’s life chronologically. Another type of organization focuses on a few important events in the person’s life, building up to the one that you think is most important. Write an introduction. The first paragraph of your essay introduces your subject. The introduction leads up to the thesis statement, which expresses the idea you will develop in your essay. Support your thesis with examples and details. Use the information you have gathered to support and develop your idea about your subject. Use an informative, lively tone. As you write your draft, enliven your writing with vivid language and colorful details that appeal to the senses. Write a strong conclusion. In your final paragraph, restate your view of the person about whom you are writing. Tell the reader what this individual has contributed to the country. Writing Workshop 373 S Sample questions about ample questions about G Geor eorge W ge Washington: ashington:  What was W What was Wa ashington shington’s family backgr s family background like? ound like What about his education? What about his education?  What qualities made him a good gener What qualities made him a good general? W al? We er re e they they the same things that made him the same things that made him a good P a good Pr resident? esident  How did his soldiers feel about him? How did other How did his soldiers feel about him? How did other leaders feel about him? leaders feel about him?  How effectiv How effective was he as a P e was he as a Pr resident? esident?  What was W What was Wa ashington like as a person? shington like as a person?  What w What we er re e his personality str his personality strengths and w engths and weaknesses? eaknesses? What did he do best? What did he not do as w What did he do best? What did he not do as well? ell? Page 374 Wednesday, May 2, 2007 2:06 PM  Model Essay Read the following model of a biographical essay about George Washington. Notice how it includes the characteristics you have learned about. George Washington: A Quiet American Hero When George Washington was a boy, he liked to make up his own sayings. “Lean not on anyone” was one of them. The opening As he grew older, a strong sense of self-reliance and The thesis statement paragraph is an introduces the idea introduction to responsibility—to his family, his soldiers, and his country that will be the subject. It can —shaped Washington’s character. It gave him a quiet developed in the include an anecdote. essay. strength that helped him direct the course of our nation. Washington grew up on his family’s Virginia plantation. As a young man, he decided to learn a trade as a land surveyor. George Washington was only sixteen years old Is this essay when he set out on his first surveying expedition. Sleeping organized outdoors and hunting for his food made the teenager chronologically; by focusing on a few more mature. This maturity and sense of responsibility events; or by were the perfect qualities for a military leader. contrasting the public’s opinion Seven years later, Washington was already a colonel with the real man? Each paragraph commanding Virginia’s colonial troops. At six feet two includes examples inches tall, he was a forceful leader who inspired his men and details to to defend the colony’s 350-mile western frontier. develop ideas about the subject. In 1775, Washington’s leadership was called upon one more time. The Second Continental Congress named him commander in chief of the army. From 1775 to 1783 his strength helped his soldiers overcome many problems. Washington’s troops didn’t have enough supplies, and many soldiers deserted. The men suffered horribly during the bitterly cold winter at Valley Forge. After Washington’s death, Thomas Jefferson said The conclusion about the leader, “His integrity was most pure, his justice restates the thesis the most inflexible I have ever known.” Without this quiet statement in a American hero, with his strong sense of responsibility, our new way. nation’s early history would have been very different. 374 Unit Page 375 Wednesday, May 2, 2007 2:06 PM  Revising After completing your draft, read it again carefully to find ways to make your writing better. Here are some of the things you should look for. Revise to strengthen your thesis • Do the introduction and thesis statements create a clear, unified impression of the person about whom you are writing?  Do the body paragraphs develop this impression? Revise to meet written English-language conventions  Are all sentences complete, with a subject and a verb?  Are all the words spelled correctly?  Are all proper nouns capitalized, including names of people and places?  Did you use proper punctuation?  Rubric for Self-Assessment Evaluate your biographical essay using the following rating scale: Score 4 Score 3 Score 2 Score 1 Supports the thesis Uses a reasonably Chooses an organi- Shows lack of organi- Organization with a series of logically clear organization, but zation not suited to zational strategy ordered paragraphs occasionally includes the topic (for example, creating a clear less relevant informa- presents personality impression of a real-life tion (for example, traits without tying person, organized anecdotes or facts that them to an overall chronologically, by wander from the thesis) impression or to the order or importance, subject’s actions) or by character trait Presentation Discusses the life and Discusses the life and Does not discuss the Does not provide personality of the personality adequately life and personality any facts, details, or subject in a way that with several facts, adequately in any examples about the develops a clear details, or examples; detail; does not link subject’s life and impression of the links most supporting supporting informa- personality person with facts, information to the tion to the thesis details, and anecdotes thesis from the subject’s life; links all information to the thesis Use of Language Varies sentence Uses some variety in Uses the same types of Writes incomplete structure and voca- sentence structure and sentences without sentences; uses bulary successfully; vocabulary; includes varying them; repeats language poorly; includes no or very few mechanical errors words; includes many sounds confused; few mechanical errors mechanical errors includes many mechanical errors Writing Workshop 375