This week I finished Charles Darwin’s autobiography. His autobiography was rather short (only eight chapters), making it possible for me to finish it in four days. In this essay, I am going to talk about the things I would do in my autobiography that are different from Darwin’s.
The first thing I would change is the length of the book. As I mentioned in the last paragraph, Darwin’s autobiography was only eight chapters long. When I write my autobiography, I plan to make it a lot longer than eight chapters. But I wonder if the original autobiography was longer than the one I read. In the first few pages of the book Darwin’s son, Francis, informed the readers that the autobiography was originally written for his children and some parts of the book were removed for privacy purposes. I am not sure how many private things Darwin may have added to the book, but it could contribute to why the book was so short.
Another thing Darwin did, that was slightly frustrating, was that he did not describe many important things that happened to him. For example, his time in the Galapagos. He did not take the time to write about or describe his experience there, but he did include the fact that he went there. This left the reader wondering about what happened during this time. Darwin also did not mention what caused him to suddenly become an atheist, though I can understand why he did not write about this topic. It is a sensitive subject for some and he may not have wanted to share his opinion with others. When I write my autobiography, I will be sure not to leave out too many details.
Towards the end of the book, Darwin started to exclude the time periods of certain events making it hard for readers to understand what time period we were reading about. In the first part of the book it was very easy to understand what year or decade we were in, but it started to become less clear towards the end. That happened to be around the time Darwin started talking about his mysterious illness. I am not sure if this was intentional or not, but it was certainly confusing for me to read. For my autobiography, I will be sure to remember to include the dates of events I mention to avoid confusing my readers.
As you can see, I have learnt a lot from Darwin’s autobiography. I think leaving out time periods is a very valuable lesson for me as I know I sometimes forget to specify when certain things happen. You can always learn from other people’s mistakes, and I have definitely learned from Darwin’s.