Man's scheme in the universe fills a vast array of emotions and passions; living in a world of time and change automatically subjects his experience to joy and turmoil, boasts and sighs, pleasures and sorrows. Many of these experiences would pass from the breath of time, if bold souls were not willing to let their thoughts be heard. .
The autobiographer is a crusader of human nature. He seeks to fill the cup of human experiences with the ink of his pen. With all of life's experiences to behold, I feel the autobiographer is seduced to relinquish his experience of suffering, above all else. What relevance does a story hold if there is no tragedy to draw out the sympathies of one's audience? Suffering allows the auto biographer to hold his audience in relative awe over the central theme of his work, the discovery of an unknown experience, an unknown life. Through the theme of suffering, the true relevance of the autobiography, as a genre of literature, emerges. Its essential relevance revolves around three main discoveries: the audience of the author, the author of the audience, and the author of the author. In other words, the experience of transcribing one's experience causes a discovery of a singular, subjective experience, human nature, and the self. Above all else, the autobiography is a means of self-discovery for both author and audience. Within the genre of autobiography, suffering provides the strongest medium for the theme of self-discovery. Once the moment of self-discovery is reached, the author is able to turn all of his suffering into a moment of redemption. Thus, the experience of the author's suffering provides a therapeutic remedy. .
The observance of suffering, as a means of self-discovery within the autobiography, will take place in three major works, William Wordsworth's The Prelude, Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam.