English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mr. Pullman,

My name is Chad Pendergast; I am a student at Catholic Memorial High School in Massachusetts. I am writing to u because I am interested in your works of literature. I was wondering if sometime when you had a free time you wouldn’t mind traveling here to speak with my English class. We are studying British writers and it would be great if we could have a real one come in and share his work with us.

I read the book you wrote Frankenstein and I really enjoyed it. I find myself drawn to the kind of books that you right because they are filled with mystery and suspense. This makes the book easier to read and like you I enjoy reading the book as much as you do writing it. Another story of yours that I liked was His Dark Materials. I liked the character Lyre in the story because she is very similar to Eve and since Catholic Memorial studies religion we are all familiar with Genesis. The quote “Why do they do these things to children, Pan? Do they all hate children so much that they want to tear them apart like this? Why do they do it?” helps ask questions about why the church takes souls away from the children and I found this to be interesting and I liked it a great deal. I would like it if you came to our class and read some of your works or talk about your life because we have never had a real author in to talk to us. Also, this way maybe we can read some of your writings in class, because I don’t think that our book cover any of your pieces.

I would appreciate it if you could write back to me or contact the school if you are in the area or interested in visiting Boston sometime before June. My classmates and I would really benefit from an actually British author than just reading about them. I am hoping to hear from you soon.

Sincerely, Chad Pendergast


























The song “The Piper of Dundee” is an old Scottish folk song. The song was written between 1819 and 1821. The song tells the tale of a piper who came to the small town of Dundee and played many different songs to the people. The town is located in Scotland and it’s the place of origin for this song. The song is a cultural because it tells of the people and environment of the town. The song is also historical because it tells us the name of people and other songs that were around during this time period. The song therefore is a product of the time. The author of the song is James Hogg.

The song tells about the town in the spring season. The song mainly tells about the songs that the piper was playing to the towns people. The songs he was playing were common songs to be heard at the time. The song also speaks of the way people danced and how they acted to each different song. It also tells of the weapons the people at the time used like swords and crossbows.

One of the songs main functions is to be a cultural song. The song is a cultural song because of the weapons and dancing it talks about, witch are part of the Scottish people’s culture. The “Piper of Dundee” also talks about the town’s location by the sea and the weather in the town. It also talks about the architectural style of the town like its house’s and church’s. An example of this is “It's some gat swords and some gat nane And some were dancing mad their lane.”

The second function of the song is historical. The historical content of the song is when it talks about other songs that were around during that time. Another thing historical in the song is that it mentions people who were living during the time period. Finally, there really was a rouge piper who went from town to town playing songs and he was originally from Dundee. An example of this is “The piper came to our town And he played bonnielie” and “And wasna he a rougey, a rougey, a rougey And wasna he a rougey, the piper o' Dundee.”

The song is not heard of today because it has had only a few covers in the early 1900’s and the language of the song is hard to understand. The song was covered by James Hogg who wrote different versions of it and used the tune in a few other songs he wrote. Overall, the song is mostly known by a few families who sing it today.

In conclusion, “The Piper of Dundee” is a cultural and historical song because it talks about the people and customs of that time. It was written in-between 1819-1821 and has had few covers since then. Finally, the song is a product of the 1820’s and played a important role at that time for the town of Dundee.


















In the last year Saddam Hussian has been arrested and is currently being charged for crimes against humanity. The U.S. is trying him for various crimes of murder and corruption. He is on trial in Iraq and his lawyers are faced with numerous death threats, along with the judge. The crimes were motivated by his desire for power and his paranoia once he came into power. He killed people to get into power and he killed many people who he thought were plotting against him. All of these crimes had the sole motivation of becoming/staying Dictator of Iraq.

One of the major crimes that Saddam is on trial for is when he executed and entire village because he thought they were planning an assignation on him. It was a small village just north of Bagdad and he committed this crime in July 1982. His way to prevent this assignation was to kill everyone in the village so he could stay in power as dictator. This act of totally regarding human life to stay in power shows Saddam’s immense desire for power and how far he is willing to go to keep it. It also shows his paranoia because he even killed the women and children. He was quoted saying “I did what was necessary to stop the assignation attempt,” basically admitting to wiping out the village.

One story in British literature that relates to Saddam’s situation is the story of MacBeth. They both killed people to obtain their power as sole rulers of nations. Also, like how Saddam killed people plotting against him, MacBeth killed people who he feared would take his throne. He killed a wife and child, along with his friend and his friend’s sons. They were both trying to maintain their power by killing people and they were both very power hungry. For example when MacBeth tells the murders “you must kill Banquo and his son tonight,” like Saddam MacBeth is eliminating people who he feels threaten his power as King.

In conclusion, Saddam committed many crimes to increase and keep his power. Similar to how MacBeth killed women, children, and people who were close to him to gain power, and insure his power. The similarities show that the struggle for power has always been going on and people will continue to kill to become more powerful.






















The English language is a very unique language, its constantly growing and changing. English has gone through several stages: Old English, Middle English, and now Modern English. The word “athlete” originated in the year 1528 and is a common word used in Modern English. The word “athlete” has assisted this huge language into becoming what it is today.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word as “a person who plays physical activities.” It also states that the word originated in the year 1528. This definition is the most commonly used definition in speaking the word. Another, less common definition of this word is “a fig” this was recorded being used in 1623 by the OED. This definition is hardly heard when using this word in speech.

In most other dictionaries the definition of the word “athlete” hardly changes. The Webster English Dictionary defines it as “competing in a physical activity with the desire to win.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word as “a person who competes in sporting activities.” Finally, Dictionary.com defines the word as “A person possessing the natural or acquired traits, such as strength, agility, and endurance that are necessary for physical exercise or sports, especially those performed in competitive contexts.” All these definitions are similar because theword’s meaning does not vary drastically.

The word “athlete” can be found in many different works of literature. For example, in A.E. Houseman’s poem “To an Athlete Dying Young” the word is used constantly to describe the main character of the poem. The word is also used in many magazines and modern writings of today’s time. For example, the word is constantly used in Sports Illustrated Magazine. Also, the word is used in newspapers such as the Boston Globe and Boston Herald daily.

People who speak everyday English all have different understandings of the word “athlete.” Mike O’Neal responded “a person who plays sports,” when asked what is the definition of the word athlete. Chuck Pendergast, when asked the same question, responded “a player” and Marie Pendergast responded “a sports player.” The same question was later asked to people who did not speak English as a first language. When Juan Rodriguez was asked he responded “a person in good shape.” Also, when Grace Pendergast was asked she responded “anyone good at sports.”

In conclusion, the word “athlete” has played a key role in the expansion of the English language. It has given many people hope and determination to improve them to become the best they can be at a sport. It has many similar definitions but no matter what it will continue to help the English language grow.