Biography: Characteristics, Parts, Types, Examples

A Biography It is a narrative that tells the life of a person, usually famous or historically important. It consists of recounting the life of a particular person from the moment of her birth to the end of her days.This type of story briefly describes childhood, youth, loves, works, difficulties, achievements and anecdotes of whoever is talking.

In general, biographies are stories written in the third person by a narrator who previously devoted himself to research. Examples of recent biographies that can be purchased in physical or ebook format are those of Steve Jobs , Winston Churchill, Frida Kahlo, Leonardo da Vinci , David Bowie, Albert Einstein or Federico García Lorca.

A biography has the purpose of exposing the most important data of a person’s life through reliable and accurate information, which can be given by the closest environment. Biographies may or may not have the authorization of the main character.

Characteristics of biographies

Characteristics of Biographies

Centered on one person

Biography is a narrative about a person’s life. There is a wide variety of subjects on which a biographical text can be written, from world-renowned figures, such as Elon Musk or Marie Curie, to ourselves, which would be an autobiography.

Character description

In a biography it is necessary to expose the physical, psychological and moral characteristics of the character in order to make it more widely known. The importance of describing the aforementioned traits is to explore the causes that led the person to perform certain actions.

The description of the main traits that define the personality of the subject is important, since it will allow the reader to understand the decisions he made or the achievements he achieved.

For example, if a biography of George Washington is made, it could be mentioned that from a young age he was very mature and had a great sense of responsibility, elements that made him an exceptional military leader and a hero for the United States.

Example

Miguel Hernández was a slim young man with large, deep eyes. During his short life he demonstrated his talent for literature and poetry, expressing his most intense feelings through letters . The poet was an authentic man, committed to the social and political cause of Spain.

Historic context

A biography is characterized mainly by narrating true events within a real historical framework. The director of the biography must tell the life of the character within a chronological time.

Example

“Miguel Hernández (1910-1942) was a Spanish poet and playwright, recognized as one of the most important of the 20th century. He was part of the Generation of 36, which emerged after the Civil War of 1936; however, its style and characteristics were closer to those of the 27 ”.

Narration of important events

In a biography, the most representative events in the life of the main character are related or told. This type of narration does not focus on the day to day or all the moments of the person, but rather the most important facts are taken.

If you make a biography on Antoine Lavoisier, you should talk about his discovery, the law of the conservation of mass; If it is a biography of the scientist John Dalton, it would be appropriate to talk about his atomic theory and how it was influenced by the discoveries of other scientists of the time.

Example

“Miguel Hernández became a father for the first time on December 19, 1937, but his son died ten months later, he dedicated the work Son of light and shadow to him. The following year, life began to smile again when his second son Manuel Miguel was born on January 4, 1939 ”.

Chronology

Biographies are usually structured in chronological order or according to how the events happened in the character’s life, in order for the narrative to have coherence and logical meaning. The events can be accompanied by photographs of the protagonist of the story.

Example

“Miguel Hernández was involved since he was a child in pastoral work. However, the poet received primary education at the Nuestra Señora de Monserrat Institute between 1915 and 1916. Then he went to the Love of God School from 1918 to 1923… ”.

Storyteller

A biography is written by a third-person narrator, that is, one who knows all the details of the character’s life. In general, the narrator conducts a thorough investigation and consults reliable sources.

Example

“Miguel Hernández obtained his first and only award on March 25, 1931, which was awarded by the Sociedad Artística del Orfeón Ilicitano. The work with which he won was entitled Canto a Valencia, under the motto light, birds, sun ”.

Historical facts and places

In a biography the different important trips that the character made are narrated, in addition the historical events that happened while he lived are incorporated. This allows to contextualize the reader both in space and in the person’s life time.

Example

“Miguel Hernández made his first trip to Madrid on December 31, 1931, in order to secure a place in the literary square. Although he took the experience obtained in his native Orihuela and some recommendations, he did not get what he was looking for. He returned to the place where he was born on May 15, 1932 ”.

Parts of a biography

Dedications

The dedications consist of one or two short sentences in which the author wants to show affection to loved ones.

Preface

In the preface, the author of the biography usually recounts personal experiences prior to the completion of the biography. They are usually related anecdotes or that explain why it was decided to investigate the protagonist.

Introduction

The beginning of a biography often begins by explaining who the protagonist’s parents and grandparents were, what they did, how they met, and what was the initial relationship with the protagonist.

Attention is paid to the most important events of the initial phase of the protagonist; how he was as a child, where he studied, if he had relationships, his interests, etc.

On the other hand, the author of the biography can explain the way in which he carried out the research process. In this section the writer lets know who his main collaborators were and can make some thanks.

Development

Once the explanation of the protagonist’s childhood and early youth is finished, we enter early adulthood, which is where the achievements that the person achieved in his life usually occur.

It continues to explain the most important personal and professional events, while certain concepts are explained to understand the protagonist and what his achievements consisted of. For example, if it is the biography of Albert Einstein, the author could try to explain the key concepts of the theory of special and general relativity.

The writer can add photographs and images to the investigation so that the reader can better understand the experiences the character went through. In addition, outstanding quotes and phrases from the protagonist of the story can be added, which can clarify her thinking and acting.

Conclusion or reflection

The conclusion is the last part of the biography, it exposes the legacy that the character left and the influence that he could have. If the protagonist is still alive, his future plans, his appreciation of life and what he has not yet been able to do are described.

Thanks

In the acknowledgments the author of the biography thanks the people who helped him find information and perform other tasks necessary to complete the book.

Photos and attachments

This section usually includes photographs and documents that are discussed in certain parts of the biography.

What is the biography for?

A biography serves to publicize the life and work of a person who has been or is important within a society, whether in the political, cultural, literary, religious, social, economic, artistic, educational, historical or environmental spheres . On the other hand, the biography fulfills the function of specifying data and dates in chronological order.

Biographies are also useful to know the political and social situation in which the character developed or lives, this opens the way to understand the decisions he made at the time. In this type of narration, the author focuses on exposing the contributions and legacy of the person of whom he speaks.

Biography types

Authorized

This type of biography is the one that has the approval of the character or a close relative in the event that the person has died. An authorized biography is legal, this means that the author has completed the necessary steps for its realization. In many cases the character in question supervises what the writer develops.

Unauthorized

An unauthorized biography is one that is made without the permission or consent of the main character. Although his life is interesting, the person does not want it to come out officially. There are cases in which this type of narration produces legal claims against the author.

Autobiography

An autobiography is one that the character himself writes about himself and narrates in the first person. The protagonist tells all the important aspects of his life from his point of view, he does not allow the opinion of third parties.

The autobiographies present some variables. The most common are intimate diaries and memoirs. The diaries are based on the expression of feelings and emotions by the character, they do not necessarily follow a chronological order. While the memories refer to events at a certain time.

Biography example (short)

Pablo Dominguez

Pablo Domínguez was a Venezuelan lawyer, writer and intellectual, considered one of the most prominent of the 20th century. The author was born on October 13, 1920 in the city of Barquisimeto. His father was the jurist Pablo Emilio Domínguez Aristizábal and the doctor Virginia Rosa Amundaray Larrazabal.

Domínguez studied his first years of studies in the city where he was born, specifically at the Albert Einstein Institute. Later, his secondary training was spent at the Elizabeth V English School. Young Pablo manifested his taste for literature when he was twelve years old, when he wrote his first verses.

Pablo studied law at Yale University in the United States. When he finished his degree, he returned to Venezuela and practiced as a lawyer in his father’s firm, but he soon decided to dedicate himself only to writing. This is how he published his first collection of poems Nubes loaded in 1950, which was characterized by a surrealist content.

The writer made a tour of Europe between 1952 and 1954. In France he met poets of the stature of Pablo Neruda. Domínguez’s life took a tragic turn after suffering a car accident on a Paris highway in 1956. The intellectual was for a time without being able to walk, which plunged him into a deep depression.

Later, Domínguez recovered and resumed his literary career. He published works such as: Dark Heart, Gates to Heaven and Perennial Autumn. When the poet began to be recognized internationally, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Despite his constant struggle to combat the disease, Pablo Domínguez passed away on April 28, 1960 in Paris when he was barely forty years old. His body was repatriated a year after he was buried in the private Angeles de Dios cemetery in the city of Barquisimeto.

References

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  2. Biography. (2019). Spain: Wikipedia. Recovered from: es.wikipedia.org.
  3. Pérez, J. and Gardey, A. (2009). Definition of biography. (N / a): Definition. From. Recovered from: definicion.de.
  4. Meaning of biography. (2014). (N / a): Meanings. Recovered from: meanings.com.
  5. Characteristics and function of biographies. (2011). Mexico: Study and Learn. Recovered from: estudioraprender.com.

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