English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mrs. Buchi Emecheta,

Hi my name is Aj Currelley, and I am a student at Catholic Memorial high school. I am in the tenth grade and I take a course in English called British literature. For the first half of the first term we studied contemporary British writers. I found your name searching on a suggest website for contemporary British writers, and wanted to know if you would come and visit Catholic Memorial.

The aspects of your life that I admire, which I read up on a website are that you struggled to get through being a single black woman living in Britain trying to bring up your children. I like the fact that you pulled through and you were able to find time to get your ideas, and life stories written down on paper. Personally I can relate to you because in my life I have experienced racial prejudice as a young black and white child growing up in a dominantly white community, the lower class suburbs.

Even though I am not familiar with you work I have done some research on you found out that a very good fictional book by you is “Second Class Citizen”. During the start of my research I was aiming for a minority person, because racial struggle is what interest me most when reading novels, short stories and poems as a young reader. A particular passage that I liked was “It had all begun like a dream. You know, that sort of dream which seems to have originated from nowhere, yet one was always aware of its existence. One could feel it, one could be directed by it; unconsciously until it became a reality, a Presence”. I like this passage because I agree that life does feel like a dream. I found out that “Second Class Citizen” was about a poor Nigerian woman struggling to raise her kids in London, and this was exactly what I was looking for.

What I wanted to know was if you could come and do a reading for our class or the whole school on a particular passage that you find most powerful, and inspiring. I think that it would show many of the Catholic Memorial students to be appreciative and to see how good they really have it. Also I don’t think that we will be studying any other African British writers this year. I think if you don’t come, the students in the school would not realize that they should be grateful for what they have, and also “you could strengthen our resolve to consider the poor.”

Thank you for your time and I hope you could find time to make a visit to Catholic Memorial high school. Sincerely, AJ Currelley
























“The battle of Otterburn” was written by Francis Child in volume three of his five-volume work, between 1882 and 1898. “ The song was not one of the most popular songs and it is mostly a dead song in the world today. It was written in England where Francis Child attended college. “The battle of Otterburn” influenced British philosophy, and politics in many ways.

The song was written along with the other ballads in Child’s Scottish and English song collection. Borderballads is a website which said that during this time Britain was at war. In 1882 Britain invaded Egypt because of anti foreign riots. The British ended up defeating the Egyptians. Then in 1883 the British along with the French invaded Sudan, but Britain ended up withdrawing. So “The battle of Otterburn” for Francis Child, was written during a modern war.

The main function of the song is that it changes our views of philosophy. It changes our views of philosophy because we realize that you cannot win every battle. Also when you do win a battle in any aspect of life you may have to make sacrifices. A person may even have to give their life for their cause. “But Percy wi’ his guid bricht sword, That could sae sharply wound, Has wounded Douglas on the brow, Till he fell to the ground.” In this part of the song Douglas’s side had just won the battle, but he was killed by his main rival.

Another function of the song is that it influenced our views of politics. It changes our view of politics because it shows how the battles of countries may bring battles among certain groups of people. This battle started as a battle between England and Scotland and became a battle between the two men Percy and Douglas and their families.

There are some other functions in “The battle of Otterburn” which are the lyrics and the melody. The function of the melody is singsong. It mixes happiness with lyrics, which are good at first at first then turns into a sad story. An example is the line “The deer rins wild on hill and dale, Birds flee from tree to tree; But there is neither bread nor kail To fend my men and me.” This line is very happy and sounds like a beautiful scene at first, then goes to how the men have nothing to eat and drink and no place to stay.

A dead song in the world today absolutely no one that I know has heard it before. Zero out of ten students I asked at CM ever heard of the song. Also zero out of five of my close friends from my hometown had ever heard the song. I asked some adults and zero out of eight have ever heard “The battle of Otterburn.” Last when I was at the library I noticed that the librarian had a noticible British accent, I asked her, but she had never heard of “The battle of Otterburn.” Also there are modern versions at various websites having to do with Francis Child. Those version are basically the same but are written over into modern English.

































On Thursday February 9, 2006, Shawn Ray Nguyen and Burlie Sholar the Third, somehow thought that they could beat the system by smuggling drugs onto planes for transportation. Considering that they were at the time they were two US air marshals it would be easier for them to do this. Authorities were supposedly already investigating Nguyen since November, from a tip that they received. They think that Nguyen recruited Sholar. They planned to smuggle 33 pounds of cocaine on a plane going to Las Vegas for 67 thousand 500 dollars. On Thursday, an informant delivered 15 thousand dollars and 33 pounds of cocaine to Nguyen’s house. These two men are currently arrested and waiting for a trial that can lead to a ten year to life sentence. Even though this crime involves money this crime is greatly motivated by power because these two men allegedly used their positions to smuggle narcotics through airport security and onto airplanes for transportation.

There have been very few interviews with neither Shawn Ray Nguyen nor Burlie Sholar. Although there have been various statements and main complaints by them. There has been a complaint by the criminals that authorities were already investigating Nguyen, since November. Nguyen is pleading non-guilty, his lawyer said “The charges are serious, but we believe he should be released on bond," he also said that Nguyen has "a history of service to this country." Scholar did not have a lawyer present on this appearance it will be interesting to see what he has to say.

 Authorities do not know of any other people who were involved in this crime. It is known that the destination of the drugs from these two men were supposed to be going to Las Vegas in exchange for a very large sum of money. So there is most likely another person that is or was involved in this crime. Authorities are not sure at this point of if any other Air Marshals were involved in the crime. Also even know this crime was greatly influenced by power, these men definitely had “money on their minds.”

 A great example of drug trafficking in literature is the story “Blow.” Blow is a true story, based on a man’s, George Jung, life. Jung started out as a marijuana smuggler in the early 1970’s, and eventually became involved in cocaine smuggling. When involved in cocaine smuggling Jung was a large smuggler, dealing with Columbia. Jung dealt with the big bills, millions of dollars, but was caught and is now a convicted drug trafficker. He also had a partner in crime, it was his girlfriend. “Blow” was eventually made into a movie in 2001, in which Jung is portrayed by Johnny Deep.

Shawn Ray Nguyen and Burlie Sholar the Third are still being held and have started trials. There is a long way to go in the case before a verdict is made. Either guilty or innocent of this crime and from the events told by George Jung, drug trafficking is something that you don’t want to be involved in and there are major consequences if you get caught. In Nguyen and Sholar’s case their positions of power blinded them, and they could not restrain from using their positions of power to commit this crime.



























Language is one of the key factors of culture, culture is the main part of human life. Also language brings people together and separates people but is for the good of all. English is an exceptionally unique language. English started in the small island country of England, and was carried over to the United States, which is the strongest country in the world today. English is not the United States official language but it is the most common language spoken here. Take a common word such as “fabulous”, which had been around since the mid sixteen hundreds, in literature. In the history and even today, the word “fabulous” has bettered world progress.

The word “fabulous” is commonly used today in many different ways. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “fabulous” as “Barely credible or astonishing, in a sentence such as the fabulous endurance of a marathon runner.” Also as “extremely pleasing or successful.” Used here “a fabulous vacation.” The third definition from the A.H.D. is “of the nature of a fable or myth, legendary, and told of or celebrated in fables or legends.” Another use of the word “fabulous” from Word Net is “based on or told of in traditional stories; lacking factual basis or historical validity; the fabulous unicorn.” Also the word “fabulous” can be found in the New Websters Pocket Dictionary under “something great or above normal.”

As the years went on the meaning of fabulous has varied. Dating back to 1546 and 1551 the word “fabulous” was used meaning of “a person fond of relating fables or legends given to fabling.” “Fabulous” was also used in this context in 1591. In 1601 fabulous was used as “spoken or celebrated in fable or myth fabled, mythical.” Today “fabulous” is used by many writers as something out of the ordinary, something great.

Today the word “fabulous” is used in a completely different context from the way it was used it literature years ago. “Fabulous” is a word commonly used by people of all ages and of all levels of intelligence in the world. Most people have similar definitions or denotations of the word. Teens today such as Shelton V, Gio C, my cousin Denzel Duncan, and even my grandmother Dianne Leonard have used the word referring to something out of the ordinary or something great. Also Shelton V and Christina B, have referred to the word with the connotation of “ghetto fabulous”. “Ghetto fabulous” is a phrase for someone who lives in a poor neighborhood but still is able to have the luxuries of life, varying from clothes to even expensive cars.

In 1546-1551 “fabulous” had its first appearance in literature. The author Bale in English Votaries 2, wrote “Of where of the fabulouse poetes reporeth (Venus) to be endangered.” Also in 1591 the famous William Shakespeare wrote in Henry the 6th, 3 line 8 “I see report is fabulous.” Then in 1601 Holland who translated Pliny 1, 91, wrote “the most mountain of all Africke.” Also “fabulous” has been transformed and creatively used in many ways. Coming from fabulouse to “fabulous,” now a rapper has mad his stage name fabolous. This rapper has changed the spelling of the world taking out the first u and replacing it with an o. In interviews he said that he did this because he likes the pronunciation as a boo (faa-boo-lous). He does mot use the word as something or someone mythical, but as someone who is better than average, or out of the ordinary.

In a survey of three foreign language speakers they had some interesting things to say. Catholic Memorial student Silverio Conte said that something “fabulous is something thats hott, great, nice, top quality, like me.” Also Silverio said that “It wasn’t hard to learn this word, but I had trouble spelling it back in the day.” Middle age Maria Santana said that “Fabulous is a word that describes something good, like my home country the Dominican republic. I first learned this when someone offered my a fabulous freezie, when I said what’s that? My friend said a freezie that’s really good.” Nixon Debois a man from Haiti said “I dont really here the word fabulous too much. I know my son has posters a rapper named fabolous.”

“Fabulous” today in news is used in a variety of ways, in the headline or in the text. Take for instance the Headline “Jewelry store lightning is notoriously fabulous - stones can look different in day time.” Just in this headline “fabulous” is place next to a word that is similar to its opposite, notorious. In the article it is used as so, Also ask to see the piece in natural daylight. Jewelry store lightning is “notoriously fabulous,” and colored stones in particular can look dramatically different in daylight. Also “fabulous” is used in an article from the New York times titled “Young and fabulous.” This is a new usage of the word “fabulous” relating it to being young and healthy. In this article a person who is “fabulous” is in good shape and has good health.

”Fabulous” is helping world progress because it is a word that welcomes people with good vibes and feelings. Also “fabulous” gives people a drive to learn more and be better at a particular part of life. “Fabulous” gives people this drive because people long for great experience and skills in life. “Fabulous” as a mythical thing also makes the world better, because it stands for something that expands people imagination. On another thought I believe that English should not be America’s official language, only because America is the land of the free, and very diverse. So having an official language would not serve justice to the image of America. If as predicted America will be fifty percent Spanish speaking in twenty five to fifty years. Even if this happens I believe that there should not be Bilingualism because if people want to move to America they should learn English, because this country was built using English. In my opinion English is the most “fabulous” language.