English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Andrew O'Hagan, My name is Andrew Damiano. I'm a sophomore at Catholic Memorial High School in Boston, Ma. This year in English class, our curriculum has been based on British Literature. The reason I am writing to you is to persuade you to come over to Boston and talk with my class or read some of your brilliant pieces of literature.

We have based our sophomore studies on the classis British authors and poets of our time and even those who where around before our time. Most of the authors we are studying have passed away and unfortunately would not be able to have the opportunity of visiting our school to teach us their works. We haven't had, and will not get a chance to read any works of newer British Authors. Being a new young British author yourself, we would greatly appreciate if you would visit us here.

You are probably wondering how I found out your name. I was researching different British Authors on the contemporary British writer website where I happened to come across your name. There I read the basic facts about who you are and what kind of pieces of literature you write. You write about topics that I have great interests in, and your literature achievements were pretty impressing as well such as being included in the top 20 best young British novelists.

I feel that you have ways of explaining the explanation of why things happen the way they do in some of your pieces of Writing. In your novel "Personality", you tell the story of a man who has drowned. "First, the drowned man; then, miles and years away, a brown suitcase turns up on a pier in Rothesay, on the Scottish Isle of Bute. The man is soon identified as the tenor Enrico Colangelo. The provenance of the suitcase takes longer to come to light, as does the connection of both to the Tambinis, the Scottish-Italian family at the center of ''Personality.'' This quote from "Personality" is explaining to me that there are a lot of mysteries in the world, and lots of things that can be explained but some things just aren't meant to be known. These are the types of things I think that you can teach our sophomore class if you were to visit us." "He caught himself in the silver top and immediately thought about his hair; it had always been the way with Giovanni, several times an hour he would go into the back shop and take a comb through his black hair. When he smiled and showed his good teeth..." I came across this quote as i was reading the first chapter of you novel "You, the Viewer at Home." It seems humorous to me and if there's one thing that I enjoy reading it is a humorous piece of literature. You also seem to be writing about an Italian family in this novel which interests me because I myself am of Italian descent.

I didn't have the time to read any more of you works but I am sure they are just as wonderful as the ones I have read. Perhaps if you decided to visit, you could be the one to fill the sophomore class at Catholic Memorial. We hope to see you soon and have the influence of you with us in Boston.

Sincerely, Andrew Damiano






















The song titled "Eileen Aroon" is an old irish poem made into a folk song written. The original poem, written in 1832 by Gerald Griffin, has greatly influenced and is an important part of the irish culture. It describes the heart of Ireland.

There have been many different forms of "Eileen Aroon" by various irish artists but was originally written by playwright, poet and novelist;Gerald Griffin. According to an online biographical website, Griffin wrote the poem about his memories of his homeland. He was born in Ireland but later traveled to London to become a reporter. It was during his time in London when he wrote "Eileen Aroon", describing the memories and the landscape of his homeland.

"Far in that valley shade" is a quote in the song that is describing the land and feautures of Ireland. The song is somewhat of a love song, which many irish can relate to. I have found on ireland-information.com that there are over seven forms of the song that have been composed. It describes in a perfect way how life is in Ireland. Going into detail about the geography and about landmarks in the country, such as castles. "Castles are sacked in war, chieftains are scattered far,truth is a fixed star." This quote however describes history of Ireland, how their country was being destroyed little by little and taken over by the British.

In my research i have only found one form of the old folk song which was composed by and irish folk group named "The Clancy Brothers", who are popular for their covers of songs that are well-known by the irish people. There are no students that i have encountered my knowledge with who can actually say they have heard of "Eileen Aroon." "Eileen Aroon" has had great influence on Irelands culture and is still being composed by irish musicians around the United States and in Europe and will always be an important part of the irish heritage.























Vincent Basciano, also known as "Vinnie Gorgeous", was charged with the murder of Frank Santoro. Vinnie, a member of the Basanno crime family, claimed Santoro, a member of a lower-ranked crime family, was planning on kidnapping his twelve year old son. Previous to that murder, he is also being charged of several other murders of the crime family that Santoro is involved with. Perhaps Vinnie was not after Santoro because of the kidnapping plan but that he feels threatened by his crime family, that they might some day be at a higher level than the Bassano family.

There were several other murders that Vinnie was being held accountable for. Vinnie was known for trying to bring back old traditional mafia ways. The assistant U.S. attorney Amy Busa quoted "Vincent Basciano wanted to restore the old school Mafia way, and when someone disrespected Vincent Basciano or his family, he reacts with murder." There was no argument that Vinnie wanted power for his crime family. Joseph Massino, a member of the Massino family that Vinnie had little respect for, said "He kills for greed, he kills for power, and he kills for jealousy." Other possible culprits? According to the trial that was held, Vinnie didn't commit any of these crimes single handedly. Patrick DeFillipo is one of Vinnie's co-captains in these murder cases.

 In my recent research of a literary source that holds a story that relates somewhat to the Vinnie Gorgeous crimes I have found The Trial for Murder by Charles Dickens has a lot in common with the trial. "As the circumstances of the murder, gradually unraveling, took stronger and stronger possession of the public mind". This part of the novel explains how the murder case began to grow, such as Vinnie's did. At first he was on trial for one murder but as the trial went on and more people testified and spoke before the court, more crimes were revealed that has Vinnie at the heart of them. "All the three empanelled from a district so delivered over to Fever that they ought to have been upon their own trial for five hundred Murders." This story seems relevant to the case I am researching because it sounds like there are more than one person who could have committed the crime, as in the crime committed by Vinnie.

 This crime is still being investigated and the court is trying to decide upon if they can prove the evidence true or not. The trial is still taking place in Florida. However, it isn't looking to good for Vinnie Gorgeous and the Bassano crime family. This crime was no doubt, for power. When the mob feels threatened by another crime family they will do whatever it takes to put them out of power so they will remain at the highest point.



























The English language has come a long way since it was first started. Words are always being added, as well as different forms of the language. Words in the english language are like a new toy, they are used for a while in speech then at some point are left behind and ht use of that specific word is dead, meaning not used anymore. Certain words have different effect on people, such has the word "war." When people hear this word they either get excited or worried and scared. In my research I have fund that "war" is only hurting the english language and not helping it.

There are an abundance of dictionaries out there that contain mostly every word in the english language. "War" is defined in different ways but has the same basic meaning or action. When I looked "war" up in the American Heritage Dictionary I found that it is defined as "a sate of open, armed, prolonged conflict between two states or nations." Merriam Webster's Dictionary defined "war" as "a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict."

According to the Oxford English Dictionary "war" is defined in it's earliest definition. Its defined as "hostile counteraction by means of armed forces carried on between nations, states or rulers." The first time the word was used in literature was in 1154 but unfortunately the text wasn't in a form of english that I could translate into modern English. In 1593, William Shakespeare used the word "war" in his play Henry VI, which stated "these gates must not be shut but in the night or in the time or war." Shakespeare used the word again in All's Well That Ends Well. He wrote "War is no strike to these dark houses." This use of the word was written in 1601.

 As I stated before, English words mean different things to different people. It's usually used in a negative sense or in way that shows conflict. "A conflict between two or more countries that uses violence to resolve the conflict." This is one of many definitions I recorded in a survey from my fellow sophomore class. Another definition of the word "war" was "devastation," a one word definition of what happens during "war." Of course, some students' definitions weren't as "to the point" as the others. When I asked a student to define "war" he simply said "World War Two," showing he isn't as educated in his vocabulary as he should be. The last definition I will share from my data is this one, "a series of battles using weapons, when one side becomes victorious."

As I explained earlier, new forms of english words are constantly being introduced into the world. I found in a recent magazine a version of the word "war" that I have yet to find in a dictionary. In the May 18th issue this year of Publisher Weekly is where I came across this discovery. It was used in an article titled War Fix. The article read " war can be an addictive drug, and there are people that will take any risk for a fix." The author failed to explain what he meant but it's safe to say that its trying to say war can make people go a little crazy or get worked up about "war", and others around them want to fix it or abolish the idea of war. Another new use of "war" I found in a book titled Commentary by George Wiesel. It states " Events during the past 3 years in Spain are a microcosm of the two culture words that beset Europe today." When i read this i interpreted "war" as not just being about territory using weapons but war about culture and background.

One can find out a lot about words not just by looking them up in dictionaries or finding new uses of the word, but by talking to people who did not adopt english as their first language. After I did a survey on modern speech uses I surveyed foreign language speakers. I asked my grandmother, who was born in Italy and learned English when she came to the United States if she remembers hearing the word "war" for the first time. She said "I can't remember the first time but I can tell you that I knew the word before I moved here and before I learned how to speak English." I asked her how this happened and she explained "I left Italy because of that word, during World War II, I'm not to fond of the "war." Unfortunately i could did not know any other foreign language speakers nor could I get any I didn't know to cooperate and help me out with my work.

The english language has many words that are universal and are known by many. These tend to be words people do not appreciate such as "war." If English became the official language of the world it seems to me that the world would not be a happy place. I think people would rather have their own official language in their country of origin. New forms of words as well as meanings are being introduced or killed by the people who speak them.