English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mr. Iain Banks,

My name is Darnell Romain. I am a student at Catholic Memorial High School in Boston, Massachusetts. I am a sophomore studying British Literature and we came across your name. I would like to invite you to spend one of our classes with us to discuss your work.

We have a lot of similarities, you studied philosophy and psychology and I want to study philosophy and psychology. We also like the same style of writing, which some other people may find controversial. I like your novels because for the most part you write about teenage problems. Problems I can relate to because I am a teenager who has seen a lot more than I was supposed to. For example in your book “The wasp factory” about a sixteen year old psycho, murderous kid, definitely out of the ordinary but nothing to extreme for me. One of your other books “The Crow Road”, another about teens that’s why I like it, I like my stories with controversial issues in them.

So I hope you come and visit, my whole class is curious to see how much of you is actually in your stories. Honestly, I would be upset if you didn’t come because I haven’t found an author that can keep my attention like you can.


Darnell Romain




















“Erin go bragh” was written around 1820. The writer for this folk song is unknown. There are conflicting sites as to who, and where song was written. One site says in Scotland by a Scottish person, the other says in Ireland by an Irish person. Both sites though don’t tell me who exactly wrote the song. The song doesn’t really teach us anything in particular. There are many new versions of this song. It is very popular today as it was back when it was written. Erin go bragh means “Ireland forever, which is said to be a phrase corruption of the Scottish phrase “Eirinn gu brath”, meaning “Ireland until the day of judgement. In 1847 as a symbol for Irish nationalism they made an erin go bragh flag.

The song is still very popular even today. It is song by many Irish folk singers. Some of the Irish folk singers that sing the song are Paedar Kearney, Dick Gaughan, and Jonathan Ramsey. I think that it is amazing how a song this old can still be this popular. It’s almost like an Irish theme song. Today many artists have made their own versions of “Erin go bragh” The song changed overtime. The original is very different than some of the versions that are being performed now.

I think the main function of the song was to insight some pride into the Irish people. The song sounds to me like a song that was written after a tragedy, because at the end of each stanza is the phrase “Erin go bragh”. The author of the song seems to hav a lot of pride in his country, and I think the song was made so that all Irish people could share his pride.

















In the summer of 2004 three people were shot, the shooter a fourteen year old named Cody Posey, who was sentenced on Thursday February 23, as a juvenile. Cody snapped on July 5, 2004, and killed his father, stepsister, and stepmother, in Alamogordo, New Mexico on a ranch that they were living on. Cody’s defense team will argue that Cody acted out of years of physical, and psychological abuse. The DA failed to prove that Cody wasn’t going to change, so he was sentenced as a child, and will serve time until he is 21 instead of a life sentence.

Cody Posey was born on October 9, 1989. When Cody was three hi parents split up. Throughout the eight year custody battle Cody’s father remarried with Sandy Paul. They later divorced in 1998. Cody’s mother won custody but Cody was sent back to his father after his mother suffered an unfortunate car accident, and died. Cody’s father had already remarried to Tryone Schmid. Now Cody had a new stepmother and stepsister. Cody has been through a lot, and on top of that he had to deal with his abusive father. Cody defense team was to prove to the court that he was a good kid under extreme conditions who just snapped. They did a great job. He is sentenced to do time until he is 21, and might be a free man four months from his sentencing date due to parole. As Cody was leaving the court room he shouted to his lawyers “I won’t let you down.”

The day before the shootings Cody’s father asked him to clean the horse stalls. Cody did what he was asked. According to his father Cody didn’t clean the horse stalls fast enough, so he slapped him in the face. The day of the shootings Cody’s father asked him to have sex with Tryone. Cody refused, and when he did his father got enraged and burned him with a welding rod. That was ultimately what put Cody over the edge and caused him to kill his father, stepmother, and stepsister. Cody did his crime by himself. There was no one else involved. The crime was in the “spur of the moment”, it wasn’t a premeditated crime. A crime that was not done alone would be the abuse of Cody. I think his stepmother played apart in his abuse too, and that’s why he probably killed her.

This crime of a teenage boy killing his family appears in one of Thomas Hardy’s poems. (specifics are unknown) This crime was motivated by power because Cody killed his father to take control over him. His father has controlled him his whole life. He abused him. Cody, like any other kid in that situation most likely felt like a prisoner in his own home. When his father burned him with the welding rod, he snapped and most likely thought to him self that he was not going to let it happen to him anymore, and in an effort to take control he killed his father. It was the thought to take away his fathers powere over him is what motivated this crime.

























Words, arguably the most powerful yet underestimated things that we use. Words have the power to make you happy or sad, smile or cry, or even have the ability to cloud your judgment. People often take words for granted and don’t realize the power of them until it is too late. We use words in everyday life to communicate with others. We use them to express how we feel or to describe things such as the word “drastic” which means severe or radical in nature.

The word “drastic” is derived from the Greek word “drastikos”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “drastic” as an adjective which means “acting with force or violence, vigorous acting strongly upon the intestine; severe.” The American Heritage Dictionary defined “drastic” as severe or radical in nature. The Webster’s Dictionary defines “drastic” as severe also. So it seems that ever since its birth in 1691 the words meaning hasn’t changed and probably never will.

The word “drastic” is an adjective that describes something as being severe not necessarily bad. “Drastic” could also be used in a positive way too. One example of “drastic being used in a positive way is a person going from a hundred dollars to 1,000,000$ in a matter of weeks. Now, that would be a severe change or “drastic change” and in a very positive way to the owner of that money. When I took my word to the streets a lot of people thought of the word “measures” as in drastic measures. It seems that, that is a popular use of the word. The responses that I was getting from people were all negative. I can quote one sophomore by the name of Kevin Vixama saying “bad things.” Another sophomore by the name of David Grant saying “disaster” when asked about the word “drastic”. “Drastic seems to have such a negative aura surrounding it, it hard to believe it can be used in a positive way.

When used in newspaper articles the word is generally used in a negative way. In the article “The Drastic Plastic Ban” they use the word “drastic to describe the severity of Bisphenol A, which is a chemical that is found in some plastic food packaging and bottles, that can cause early sexual maturity, low sperm count and hyperactivity. In the article “Drastic Urbanization” the author uses the word “drastic” to describe the conditions of the tsunami victims, and how their lives drastically changed. In the article “Drastic drops in gas prices” the author uses the word “drastic” to describe the severe dip in gas prices. It’s obvious that that article isn’t a recent article.

The word “drastic” is s simple word I have found that it means the same in a lot of different languages. When I asked my foreign language speakers who wish to stay anonymous by the way, came up with similar definitions. When I asked a Spanish speaking freshman (15) he told me that drastic to him “means something serious.” When I asked my mother who spoke Creole as her first language she said that “drastic” means the same to her in Creole as it means to me in English.

Words are a powerful thing and it would be a great thing if we all spoke the same language so that we could understand everyone. However different languages help us expand our horizons. So I do think in order to understand every one we should strive to learn as many languages as we can.