Memoir Essay Examples 2021 Guide on Writing a Good Memoir Essay

Filed in Education by on April 7, 2021

Memoir Essay Examples: Are you having a hard time writing your memoir essay? If yes, then you should check out this article.

In this article, you shall learn how to write a memoir essay. Also, some memoir essay examples will be given to guide you.

These wonderful memoir examples will show you what a truly good memoir essay is. And what it should look like. However, before then, what is a memoir essay?

Memoir Essay: Definition

Before talking about memoir essay examples, note. A memoir essay is a short, essay-length version of a memoir. And it is typically between 2,000 and 10,000 words. Also, a memoir essay is a first-person narrative drawn from the author’s own life.

Additionally, a memoir essay is a true story. And it is like other forms of creative nonfiction. However, memoir essay writing makes use of many of the literary devices and techniques of fiction.

Furthermore, it is important you note that a memoir essay isn’t meant to be your entire life story. It probably won’t be chronological, and you may or may not even be the main character.

While it may focus on the author’s relationship with multiple family members or loved ones, note. A memoir essay tends to be narrow in scope. In fact, as with a short story or novel, a good memoir essay is consciously constructed and ordered for literary effect.

Tips for Writing a Memoir Essay

Before talking about memoir essay examples, note. There’s no bad subject for a memoir essay. That’s because what makes a memoir special is your writing style. And the way you draw meaning out of past experiences.

Thus, a great memoir essay could revolve around a memory of growing up. Or an account of one day in your life that proved to be consequential. Also, it could be about your first job. Or it could be about your experience leaving home

However, here are some writing tips to keep in mind as you dive into the first draft of your memoir essay:

  • Pay Attention to those Memories that Keep Coming Back to You

Even if you don’t know why a memory may be significant, note. The fact that you keep thinking of it means there’s probably a great story worth exploring there.

  • Feel Free to Play With Structure

While your memoir essay will be true, note. You don’t have to relate events in the exact order and manner in which they occurred.

As such, reread some of your favorite short stories and novels and see how those writers manipulate time, perspective, and structure to create dramatic effects.

  • Include Specific Images

Remember, memory is always tied to the five senses. And the more specific you can recall individual memories, the more vivid your writing will be.

Thus, beginning your memoir with a memory grounded in a specific sense can be a powerful entry into a memory. Also, maybe you begin with the smell of your grandmother’s living room. Or the taste of your favorite ice cream flavor.

  • Capture the Complexity and Nuance Of Memory

Remember, while you may be the narrator of your own memoir, you’re not necessarily the hero. Thus, the point of a memoir isn’t to make yourself look good. However, it’s to bravely explore your own memories and perceptions.

Thus, think about how time and distance have changed the way you reflect on the way you felt or acted as a younger person. That tension and complexity will help pull the reader through your whole essay.

Some Memoir Essay Examples

Below are some memoir essay examples:

Example 1

My Pursuit of Happiness

Actually, I started my pursuit of happiness as soon as I came into this world. My Mom says that I was an extremely capricious baby – I could cry out loud for a rather long period of time until all my demands were satisfied.  

A little terrorist, with large rainy eyes and a loud voice, I was! Later on, as I grew up, I preserved my willingness to do everything to get what I wanted, but I learnt some new and more effective methods of achieving my goals.

I remember that, when I was 4 years old, I wanted to have a dog. Absolutely nothing, even my allergy to dogs, could prevent me from making my dream come true…


Example 2

A Revolution at School

The events of that sunny spring day turned out to change the course of history at our school. I am proud of being one of the revolutionaries, who drove the change. The problem was our school uniform, which was more or less bearable in winter, but became a cause of students’ torture in spring, because it was too hot.

This is why the girls from our class agreed to wear jeans instead of the uniform one day, to show our protest against the silly school rule of wearing the uniform even when it was too hot for it. We felt a bit scared before the beginning of the first lesson. Mrs. Stone, our Geography teacher, had to be the first to see our silent protest…


Example 3

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

He was, I think, very handsome. I gather this from photographs and from my own memories of him, dressed in his Sunday best and on his way to preach a sermon somewhere, when I was little. Handsome, proud, and ingrown, “like a toenail,” somebody said.

Example 4

The Price of Black Ambition by Roxane Gay

On the bus ride home, I stuffed my shame between the dry, cracked leather of the seat and assumed the matter had been dealt with. The driver, a zealous sort, found my crumpled failure and handed it to my mother when he dropped me off the next day. She was not pleased.

I was not pleased with her displeasure. I never wanted to experience that feeling again. Also, I vowed to be better. I vowed to be the best.

Example 5

Darkness Visible by William Styron

Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self-to the mediating intellect-as too verge close to being beyond description.

It thus remains nearly incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it in its extreme mode, although the gloom, “the blues” which people go through occasionally and associate with the general hassle of everyday existence are of such prevalence that they do give many individuals a hint of the illness in its catastrophic form.


From the above, I believe you have learned how to write a memoir essay. Do well to learn from the memoir essay examples given above.

CSN Team.

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