English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Colm Toibin,

My name is TJ Flaherty, and I am writing to you because I want to let you know how much I enjoy reading your unique pieces of literature. I also noticed that you were from Ireland. My whole family is from Ireland but a different part, Galway, Co. Connemarra. But anyway one of your most famous novels and in my opinion your best was The South (1990), which was about Ireland in the 1950's. It really explained how the English had taken advantage of Northern Ireland, and some of the other parts of Ireland. I really liked this because my father had told me about how much almost everybody in Ireland hated England. I also liked your work in the book The Irish Famine (1999) because even though my dad did explain what the Irish famine was like I had a more grasp of it when I read your book. A quote that you said in this book was on page 18, you said, " the Irish will not see the end of this suffering for years." The reason I thought that this quote was so significant was because I interpeted it in two ways. The first way I thought of it was foreshadowing that the Famine will go on for years were many people will die. Then the other way I looked at it was that the British was going to take over all of Ireland in the future because as you said they already had the north. So I will conclude with telling you that I would like you to come to my school in Boston, Mass in the United States. My English class would love it if you would come and read a piece of your literature to our class. Please write back to me in Boston, you can write to the address to my school, Catholic Memorial located in West Roxbury. Sincerly, Thomas J. Flaherty


























This song was made in Ireland in 1863. Kathleen O’Neil wrote this song and produced it right after the famine. During the song it talks about how the famine was awful. This song teaches us about the history of the Irish Famine, and the results of no money and no work for these poor I rish people.

The Irish famine lasted from 1846 to 1850, four very long and hard years, especially for the people who had to live through all four years. Many people died and the scary thing was that nobody would hire the Irish people because the British ruled everything and they didn’t like the Irish. The famine took more than one million lives either from huger or disease and it changed the social and cultural structure of Ireland in many different ways.

The song explained that a result of this was land lords who evicted thousands of peasants so they had no where to go except work infested huts. I know this because O’Neil says in her first verse of the song, “ I’m a simple Irish girl, and I’m looking for a place, I’ve felt poverty before but this is a disgrace.” This quote explains what the Irish went through.

This song was a very popular song when it was written. The workers used to sing this song while they worked in the field and factories all day. It is also popular now. I took a survey on my street and asked people if they had heard this song before and 73% said they have. This is a great song to listen to but also a great song to learn from.























On January 31, the Shitte Israel group bombed the Sunni group Akmnead. It wasn’t just that group that was bombed, this group also bombed the biggest Mosque in all of Iraq. What this started was a plethora of suicide bombings between the two groups. This resulted in the killing of over 100 people in a mater of for weeks. This was a crime pure and simple with the added ingredient of hatred. This crime was influenced by power because the Shitte group wanted to take control over the Sunni group for more control in government action.

A reporter from the California news station Nancy Wallace sat down with the ringleader of this awful crime. Abdool Nejatian who reguested the interview was asked why he did it, he simply replied with a very sarcastic answer “Because I wanted to.” After that he elaborated on the manner saying that he wanted to show all of Iraq that Israel had the power to threat their lives with these bombings and did not care of any consequence. When Nancy asked don’t you care for the people that you hurt. Abdool said that his God doesn’t want people around that believe in the opposite of him which this Sunni group does. Toward the end of the interview Abdool said that the bombing couldn’t have gone better and that it was mostly just a scare to these people so they would not try it on them, but he did however want power of their government controls.

Abdool was not the only culprit in this terrible crime. There were actually many men that knew about this, and helped to plan it for a while. The four most important men are all anonymous except for one who we really know a lot about. First of all the three other men were simple the three suicide bombers who killed themselves for this. This plan wouldn’t have went down if it wasn’t for these guys. But the other man goes by the name of Muhamaud Dulaimia. Muhamaud was the guy who decided the date, what was going to be hit, and how it was going to happen. He was the strategist. Even though he did this for another guy Abdool, Muhamaud still did it for more power. Abdool gave him permission to have some say in what went on int the rest of the attacks if any, so Muhamaud also did this for power.

An appearance this might relate to in a piece of literature would by the poem Ash. The authors name is unknown but what we do know is that this poem is German, because it was found in a diary in German hand witting. The poem is about a Jewish politic building being bombed by the Nazi’s under Hitler’s rule. Three planes flew over the building one by one bombing the people and forcing them out just so the Nazi’s could capture them. I don’t know if this story is true but it relates a lot to the bombing of the Mosque. It relates because of both wanting more power.

In conclusion this crime was without a shadow of a doubt influenced by murder. The person behind the crime even admitted to it. But what I think about this crime is that it was awful, a terrible crime and even if the Sunni group in Iraq can’t do anything about it then someone still should.




























Language has changed dramatically from the last thousands of years. It started with grunts and groans and changed from one language in general to hundreds of different but similar languages today. The English language is made up of a variety of different language; however it has the most word’s in any language today. The word “mad” has now been in the language fir 706-years with its many definitions the word “mad” is very helpful to the English language because it helps you express yourself in so many ways.

In the Webster’s Dictionary the word “mad” is defined as; to make mad in various senses that is for the adjective meaning. In the American Heritage Dictionary the word is defined as the results of an alcoholic drink. This was the third definition listed. The reason I chose this word was because it was the first time I saw the word used in that context. The last dictionary I used was the Webster’s Dictionary of Law, fourth edition. The word mad in this dictionary was used as: literally the manner of one who is mad, hence furiously.

In the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) the first definition of the word “mad” means: a maggot or grub, the larva of the blow fl which causes diseases in sheep. A man named Tusser wrote the word in a book called Husbandry on pg 109. The sentence read; “Sheepe wriggling tark hath mads without faile.” The next usage of the word mad was defined as madness or fury. A man named Halliwell wrote the word in 1884 in Century Magazine. The sentence read; “His mad as getting up.” Finally I went to the last meaning of the word in the OED. It said, to become infatuated. The word was used in 1594.

I recently asked some people how they would define the word in speech today. They were all American and here is what three of there reply’s were. When I asked Dara Flaherty to define the word he replied saying “to get upset.” When he used the word in a sentence he stated that “I am mad you get out of school before me.” When I asked my aunt, Shivoan, she said that mad meant the opposite of being happy. When she used it in a sentence she stated, “I am mad that it is raining.” When I asked my mother about the word “mad” she replied saying, “I am mad that you get B’s and C’s and not A’s!” After taking this survey I could clearly see that when someone uses the word today, it is in the context of being unhappy.

Since the word “mad” is very old it was used in literature a lot by some famous people. First of those was Shakespeare in 1596. He used it in Henry IV. His sentence was “Nay if thou melt, then will she runne madde.” The next person to use the word mad in literature was Alexander Pope. In 1709, he used the word in an epic book or story The Rape of the Lock. “To taste the mad of a court,” he wrote. Finally the last person to use the word mad was Aldred Lloyd Tennyson in 1868 in his poem Heavy Brigade. He wrote, “O mad it falls upon you.”

I recently took a survey of three foreign speakers to see if they used the word “mad” any different from the way people from Massachusetts use it. The first person I interviewed was Pablo Sanchez, he is from Puerto Rico and he said that when the people in his country use the word “mad” it is simply when you are upset. Pablo quoted “I am mad that the lightning struck my house. So then I asked my father who was born and raised in Galway, Ireland, and what he told me was that they all used the word “mad” if someone or something was crazy, or doing or saying something at random. He used it in a sentence for me and said “the fish are gone mad they wont it there food, and they won’t leave the shore!” He claims he said that once or twice in his life. The last person I interviewed was Victor Martinez and he’s from the Dominican Republic, down there he said that they use the word when they have a lot of something, or things. He quoted “Yo, I have mad skills dog.”

The word “mad” has many different meanings and has been in our language for over 700 years. All of these meanings actually do help people out because it is an expression of emotion. The word mad could never put anybody down or be hurtful to anybody else therefore it helps our world out more than it hurts it.