Autotextography Essay Assignment
What is an autotextography?
An autotextography is your story told through the lens or framework of your relationship
with a piece of fiction and its role in your development or life.
Don’t forget the narrative element…
A Narrative is…
A story. It has characters, usually a protagonist and an antagonist, a setting — time and
place — and a plot.
The plot consists of the protagonist’s actions as he/she pursues a goal in the face of
challenges and obstacles presented by an antagonist (Conflict). The main antagonist can be
anyone or anything that interferes with the protagonist’s ability to reach his goal.
That means that a personal narrative is…
Your story. It could be recounting a time in your life, or a person, a place, an event, an
issue, or even an object of significance in your life. Personal narratives tend to focus on
something that has changed or shaped the person you are today.
Putting it all together …
How have you used — or are you using — the text to navigate a stage, situation,
relationship, culture or other important moment or decision in your life?
● Why have you chosen your text?
● What meaning does it have for you?
● Provide specific ways/situations in which you have “used” the text? These specifics
will provide the elements of your story: What is/was the goal or obstacle (conflict)
that You (the protagonist) have/had to overcome? Are/were you successful? How
did you change?
○ Details from the text
○ Background information about the text or the creator that may have factored
into your relationship with the text.
○ Interviews with friends or family members who were in the situation with
you or can provide details about you that you may have forgotten or been
Once you have conceptualized, researched and drafted your autotextography, remember
that it is a narrative and that you want to keep your reader’s interest through storytelling.
This may entail reworking and reorganizing — that’s fine! It’s part of the process.
I am looking for details. Not just a list of events, but details that make me feel as if I were
there with you in your circumstance. Think in terms of “showing not telling.”
Dialogue is great, though not necessary.
The events that take place in your narrative should take the reader along your journey and
should take us through your “character arc,” or transformation from the beginning of your
“situation” to the end. You could also think of it in terms of before you integrated the text
in your life to after you integrated it.
Reflect on how you have changed or continue to change since incorporating this text.
Other things to remember
● Your essay should be a minimum of 5 pages.
● Use transition words to mark the passage of time (i.e two days later, several minutes
● There is no specific time frame for narrative in this essay. It is up to you. It could
take place over a few minutes, a day, several weeks or even years like the samples
read in class. This is your chance to let your creativity flow!
Your FIRST DRAFT is due next Wednesday, February 24.
Please submit it as a Google Document. Set your share settings set for “suggesting”.
Do not submit PDFs or your partners and I will be unable to make comments or notes in the document.
Autotextography Essay Assignment