English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Tobias Hill,

My name is Jeff Stone, and i got to Catholic Memorial high school in Boston, Ma. I am a sophmore and we are studying British Literature this year. In class we do not study you, but after overhearing my parents constantly talking about your recent novel The Cryptographer, i found a sudden interest in you.

The way you write your stories is a lot of the reason why i like you. I loved how you used the mystery of the John Law in The Cryptographer. I know many writers write mystery in their stories, but a lot of times they do not have the right story to be adding serious mystery. The combination of the apporpriate story and headscratching mystery is used to perfecton in this story. "John Law is a man full of secrets, people call him the cryptographer." That line in itself would make a young reader interested because to be honest at first someone of my education level would not know what a crytographer is. Basically, your novel The Cryptographer is quite appealing to me and along with many other readers.

In my life i have never really enjoyed reading books, perhaps of new technology, computer or television, or because it has just never excited me. Although i have not read The Cryptographer, the more and more i hear about it, i want to read it.

I find it really interesting that you live in London. My family and I have gone to London the past 3 years on vacation. I like it there a lot, it is a fun place to be, probably because i am a huge soccer fan, and i really like the English Premier League. Anyways, i like to visit London and to see all the historical buildings and other things of that matter. United States does not have nearly the same amount of history that England does, therefore to go there and see things that are a couple thousand years old is very interesting and to me.

Your writing and your life is very appealing to readers of this day, because the stories you write are hard to leave. I know it would be very difficult, but it would be very much appreaciated if you were to come to our school and speak out in front of me and my fellow classmates. You could possibly read some of your work and tell us about your life. it would greatly enhance our learning and knowledge of British Literature. Thank you for reading this, please write back. Sincerely, Jeff Stone






























One of the greatest songs of all time, and one that would influence almost all of the world, is "Pomp and Circumstance." It was written just after 1900 by Edward William Elgar. Although he did not write the lyrics to the song, he was asked to put a song around the words. He was asked by Arthur Christopher Benson. Today the song can be heard all across the country and high school graduations. When this song is played we immediatley put it together with graduation. This song directly affects all of British culture along with teaching us a little bit about the history of England.

"Pomp and Circumstance" was originally written for Queen Victoria in 1900, but became huge among British culture. Elgar said himself "This song will be huge on both sides of the Atlantic." Today, it is tradition that the song be played at high school graduation. Not only is the song used for graduation, but in Enlgand it is basically a second national anthem. For example, we have a couple other songs that are very patriotic and are seen as a representation of our country. Much like that, "Pomp and Circumstance" is similiar to that.

Although you may not know it, there are lyrics to "Pomp and Circumstance." They are rarely played, but if they are read closely, they can reveal a lot about how Enlgand sees themselves or the history of England. The words were written by Arhur Christopher Benson, who then asked Elgar to put a song around it. The first line is " Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free," which shows than England is free, and they some how had to achieve their freedom. Also it shows that either they believe or they are the leader of all liberated countries. Considering that England has an influence to a large percentage of the world this could arguably be true. Another line in the song is "God who made thee mighty, Make thee mightier yet." This line reveals that they have always been a strong nation, but believe they need to be stronger. The words of "Pomp and Circumstance" reveal a lot of information about British people.

Although nobody has tried to remake this song, and make money off of it, it still has been remade. "Pomp and Circumstance" has been modernized to keep up with new technology. If the song still sounded like it originally did we would either have a stagnant culture or the song would just sound bad, considering the instruments were not as good as they are now. Today songs can be computerized and made to sound perfect, unlike the early 1900's. It is said to be very hard to play, blaming its difficulty on the complex combinations of notes and sounds.

In conclusion, "Pomp and Circumstance" is a word reknown song. It affected almost all of the former British colonies and people. My favorite part of the song is the fact that the lyrics show the confidence British people had. Elgar and Benson teamed up three times after this to create more songs out of poems, most of which did not become as popular as "Pomp and Circumstance."



























Wednesday, Febuary 15th, 36 year old Darin Gater was accused of helping 6 inmates escape prison. They escaped Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois. In his attempt, Gater wanted to embarass the current sheriff for two reasons. First off, he wanted to get back at Sheriff Sheahan for taking his job, and secondly he wanted to influence the upcoming sheriff elections. He wanted to help Richard Remus, who he was friends with, to defeat Sheahan. If Gater's plan had worked, he would have obtained more power, and this was what he was shooting for. He is now held in jail and his bail has been set.

Although Gater's attorney's still claim he is innocent, his story seems very unlikely and a little ridiculous according to the unamed judge. Gater has not released an official statement, but on his way out of the courthouse he repeatedly stated "i'm innocent, i'm innocent." Gater, a former marine, worked for Cook County Jail for eleven years, and was never expected to do anything like this. He was told to guard "the worst of the worst" prosecuter Jim Knibbs told the court. This was the start of the escape.

Many of the guards may have been involved in the escape. Some of the guards that claim they have been could be lying. They may have been promised higher positions if they helped. Also, sheriff candidate Remus could have been involved trying to higher his position in the polls. Although there are no other trials going on, there are many possibilties.

In a book called Oolanga's Hallucinations, by British author Bram Stoker, there is a similiar situation. A woman of high ranking was quite easy to embarass, and was. A woman of a very low ranking went on risk of her own job to ruin the others. "If this task is done, her job will be ruined." In the end, her attempt failed and she was arrested.

In conclusion, Darin Gater wanted more power. He tried to ruin the job of another to virtually give himself more power. He may have been told to do this by Remus himself. Although the case is not over, the outcome is easily predicted.





























Language is one of the very few things in this world that separate humans from all other species. There are many different forms of language ranging from speaking, to body language, and even sign language. In our language there are about 800,000 words and probably one of the first every human learns is “English,” because it is the name of our language. Although this is only one usages of the word, there are many other usages too. For example, “English” is culture. The “English” language is the world’s most common language and acts as a link between countries. I believe it helps our society because is it uniting us all in language.

The Oxford English Dictionary has multiple definitions for the word “English.” First off it states its Middle Ages name, which is Englisc, which refers to the Angle and Saxon dialects. Another definition is “of or belonging to England; inhabitants.” A third definition is “marked by characteristics of Englishmen.” The “OED” also states that “English” probably came about in the 9th century and even before.

Different authors have used “English” in their literature over time. Shakespeare, the best writer of all time, used “English” in his play “Henry V.” “O noble English, that would entertaine with halfe their forces.” He uses it as the people of England. “ O noble English,” referring to a person. Also, Siegfried Sassoon, the poet, used “English” in the first line of his poem “The Old Huntsman.” It is also the title of a book too, The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. Various authors use “English” ever since the 9th century.

Different dictionaries have different definitions of “English.” Webster’s Dictionary says “English” mean “a characteristic of England and/or culture.” American Heritage Dictionary says it means “of or relating to the English language.” A third dictionary says it means “a west Germanic language of England, U.S., and any other country under English influence.” Different dictionaries have different ideas of what “English” actually means.

The age of the people who I surveyed on “English” defiantly dictated their response to me. I surveyed people from the gages of 15-60. People from the ages 15-30 tended to say, “It is a language.” People such as Barry Braconi, Janessa Correia, Mike Wilson, and Lauren Albaniese all said, “It is a language”. Although both my parents and my grandparents all said “it is the people of England” or “a culture.” Perhaps the fact that English isn’t any of their first languages, they see it more as a country and less as a language.

I wanted to see if people from other countries saw the word “English” the same way we do. Gustavo Da Silva of Brazil said “English” are “the people who come from England.” Another foreign speaker, Vinny Bartucca of Italy said “English” is “a culture.” Lastly my grandfather Rocco Troianno of Italy said “English” is “a heritage.” The foreign speakers had similar answers to those of the older people that I surveyed.

“English” has a very long and confusing history. It started with the Angles, and their language Anglish. It was their dialect in the Dark and Middle Ages. The Angles were a Germanic tribe that came to England in the 5th century. As their rough language mixed with that of the romance languages, it smoothes out and became “English.”