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Autobiography vs Memoir - Differences & Similarities

 Autobiography vs Memoir - Differences & Similarities

“Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.” ― Thomas M. Cirignano,

Memoirs and autobiography are the first-person accounts of the writer’s life. They tell the life story of the writer. Distinguishing between the two is quite confusing as they share several similarities. But there are some distinct differences between them.

In this article, you’ll get to learn the similarities and differences between writing an autobiography and memoir. Sit back and begin reading the article.

What is a Memoir?

The memoir word is extracted from the French word mémoire, which means reminiscence or memories. The memoir is a life story of the author’s life written by themselves. It is a collection of memories written by the authors themselves.

The memoir presents one specific part of the author’s life. While writing a memoir, the author chooses a particular part of his life to share with people. They present greater emphasis on emotional experience and the writer’s soul. It is a type of autobiography that gives a glimpse into a particular part of the writer’s life.

Characteristics of the Memoir

Here are the few characteristics that a memoir possess:

  • The memoir focuses on the relationship between the author and a particular place or person.
  • They particularly explain the significance of the relationship.
  • They present only a particular or specific part of the author’s life.
  • They are limited to a specific time period, a particular phase, or recurring behavior.

Memoir Examples

Here are some popular examples of a memoir:

  • Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by American author Elizabeth Gilbert.

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What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography presents the life history or the story of the author’s life written by themselves. They focus on the chronology of the author’s entire life. They cover the whole life of the author up to the point of writing. Autobiography portrays the achievements and personal experiences of the author.

Therefore, they are written later in the author’s life. They begin during early childhood by telling where the author was born and brought up. And they chronologically present the key events that occur throughout the author’s life. Read a few autobiography examples of famous persons and historical figures known in society to understand how they are written.

Characteristics of an Autobiography

Here are the characteristics of an autobiography:

  • They cover the entire life of the author.
  • They are about and written by a famous person.
  • They present a greater emphasis on history.
  • They present the author’s real-life story in chronological order.

Autobiography Examples

Here are some famous autobiographies:

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
  • Dreams From My Father Novel by Barack Obama

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Autobiography vs. Memoir: Difference and Similarities

Below given comparison chart gives a complete picture of similarities and differences between a memoir and autobiography.

differences between autobiography and memoir

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Biography vs. Autobiography vs. Memoir Comparison Chart

Just look at the comparison chart given below if you need to know the similarities and differences between autobiography and biography. Or you need to compare biography and memoir. The given below comparison chart covers them all.

Biography Autobiography Memoir
An account of a person’s complete life An account of the author’s own life An account of a specific time in the author’s life
Objective in nature Subjective in nature Subjective in nature
Written in the third person Written in the first person Written in the first person
Written to inform Written to inform Written to explore emotions
Written at any time in life Written near the end of life Written at any time in life

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Autobiography vs. Memoir vs. Personal Narrative

The difference and similarities between autobiography, memoir, and personal narrative are:

Memoir Autobiography Personal Narrative
An account of a person’s life An account of one’s own life Story of the author’s life
Written in the first person Written in the first person Written in the first person
Focused on certain incidents in a person’s life It is told from the beginning to the present time. Presents a few key events within the writer's life.
It can be written at any time in life. Written nearer the end of a person's life. It can be written at any age.
Subjective in nature Subjective in nature Subjective in nature
Written chronologically Move back and forth in time Written chronologically
Relies on scenes to communicate the plot or theme. Presents the entire life story of the author’s life. Narrate the author’s experience to communicate a specific theme.
Written to explore the emotions Written to inform Written to share an experience or emotion

People usually have amazing stories to tell, but they don’t know how to communicate the actual feeling through words. Because they are not familiar with the autobiography format or memoir format. If you are one of those who are struggling to write their stories creatively, take help from us.

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