Strategies to Tackle a Biographical Essay – The Curious Case of Marie Curie

A biographical essay is a common writing assignment in history, literature, or creative writing classes. Stepping into the shoes of another person, unraveling their life story, and understanding their impact isn’t a walk in the park. Giving your opinion about them is also something quite subjective.

This guide will take you through the process of writing a biography as an essay or a research paper. First, we will explore what a biographical essay entails and then take an overview of the structure.

Understanding the Nature of Biography

A quick disclaimer here: this article is meant to inform and guide, and isn’t the final word on any scholarly matter. Consult your textbooks and published research papers if you want to dive deep into such subjects. If you need specialized writing help, check out services like College Essay Writing Service UK that connect you with expert academic writers.

Before diving into the specifics, let’s clarify what exactly a biography entails. Probably the most famous document(s) that resemble a biography are the Gospels as recorded in The Bible. They are first-person accounts of the man called Jesus who walked on the earth two millennia ago. Now, that is a debate in itself – about whether the Gospels would be considered biographies in the modern sense.

Still, they give us an idea of what a biography does – it provides a detailed account of someone’s life, from the perspective of another person.

Another famous biography is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Published in 1947, it is a powerful story of a young Jewish girl’s life experiences during the holocaust.

This is quite different from an autobiography, where the subject themself narrates their own life. Thus, a biography should be an objective account, while an autobiography is quite subjective.

Key Elements of a Biography – The Life of Marie Curie

The form of a biography and its structure can be somewhat fluid, depending on whether it is academic or not. Some biographies may be hundreds of pages long and thus might break from the somewhat monotonous structure encountered in essays. Regardless of the length, there are several elements to consider when crafting a biography.
Early Life and Background: Explore the subject’s upbringing, family background, and early influences.
Major Achievements and Contributions: Highlight their milestones and accomplishments. What actions did they take that caused a major turn of things or shifted mindsets and perceptions? Discuss the broader impact of their work and the implications on their society.
Personal Life and Relationships: Great personalities often have controversial personal lives or tumultuous upbringings. Provide insights into the subject’s relationships and family dynamics. Discuss any notable events or experiences that shaped their character. Explore the intersection of these two parts of their lives.
Impact and Legacy: Discuss the lasting impact of the subject either in their work, philosophies, or contributions to society as a whole. What are these enduring aspects and how do they continue to shape minds, research, academia, etc?

Structuring Your Biography – The Curious Case of Marie Curie

Now that we’ve outlined the key elements, let’s discuss how to structure your biography effectively:


Begin with a prelude or hook that introduces the historical figure. It should be something catchy, for example;
They called her Madame Curie. A trailblazer, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, and the first to do so in two different fields.

But even after reaching the pinnacle of scholarly success, and countless groundbreaking discoveries, a veil of mystery swirled around her. Was she a genius defying societal constraints, a martyr to science, or something far more complex? Her story, as captivating as the radioactive elements she unveiled, demands exploration.

In this introduction, Madam Curie has been introduced and the research question or problem posed. The controversies surrounding Marie Curie can be anticipated in the introduction, and the tone is set for the rest of the paper.

As you move from the introduction to the body paragraphs and arguments, remember to keep in mind the following:

Research Question: What was Marie Curie’s greatest contribution to the world? Does her legacy transcend the scientific sphere?

Research Problem: As excellent as she was, Marie Curie also faced accusations of recklessness and neglect. Was her dedication to science an admirable pursuit or a tragic flaw?

Thesis: Beyond being a scientific pioneer, Marie Curie’s life represents a relentless pursuit of knowledge. She defied traditional boundaries and left an indelible mark on science, medicine, and society, despite the personal costs she bore.


With that first part covered including the thesis, research question, and research problem, you now have everything you need at your fingertips. Now, it just remains to organize your research into the appropriate sections as discussed earlier.

Remember to highlight each section appropriately. For example, let’s see the case of Marie Curie’s formative years:

Born Maria Sklodowska in 1867, poverty and oppression marked her early life. Despite these insurmountable odds, she had an insatiable thirst for knowledge that led her to clandestine “floating universities” in her native Poland.

Eventually, she moved to Paris, where she faced sexism and hardship to earn her degrees in physics and mathematics.

Each section should focus on a specific aspect of the individual’s life, such as their early years, career achievements, personal life, and legacy.

Enrich your narrative with relevant details, quotes, and anecdotes to enrich the narrative. Remember to use clear and logical transitions between sections to maintain coherence and flow.

The Conclusion

Conclude your essay with a biography of the subject’s life and legacy. Reiterate their significance and the impact they have had on the world.

At this stage, you should have formed a lasting impression in the mind of the reader about why the story matters. Reflect on the lessons learned from studying their life, considering how they will inspire and impact future generations.

More than just a scientific pioneer, Marie Curie was a complex figure. She embodied the life of a revolutionary with her bold steps. Yet, she also breached the ethical challenges of unbridled scientific pursuit.

Her life, illuminated by the glow of radioactivity, continues to challenge and inspire us.

Marie Curie is present in reminding us that the pursuit of knowledge comes with both incredible potential and undeniable responsibility.

Remember to seek out expert help like RoyalWriter review if you can’t match the expectation, or if you meet a character that is too complex.

Final Thoughts

That’s how you write a biographic essay or research paper. With these steps, tips, and insights as your guide, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a biography that captures great insights and shines.

Marie Curie was a phenomenal woman who broke the glass ceiling in the scientific world. But there are countless others that you could write this essay on. Take this article as a quick helper on your next biography assignment.

Do you want to see another example of a biographical article? See this one about Oscar De La Hoya.