English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mrs. Molteno My name is Mike Kinsella, I am 15 years old and I attend Catholic Memorial High School in Boston , Massachusetts. I would like to know if you would like to come to our school and talk to us about your great work. The class I would like you to come and talk with is my 10th grade British Literature Class . We have been studying British literature all year and are currently reading the book 1984 written by George Orwell.

I have done a lot of research on you because I enjoy reading your work. I know that you were born in South Africa then moved to London and have been living there since 1977. I know that you are the advisor to the charity Save the Children. My favorite piece of your work is “If you can walk, you can dance”. Another work of yours that I like is “A Shield of the Coolest Air”.

I am also aware that you won the David Thomas Award for “A Shield of the Coolest Air”. Another award was the Commonwealth Writer Prize, for the best book in the African region, “ If you can Walk you can Dance”.

If you would come, we could discuss your work. We probably would not get a chance to discuss your work, but we only spend a short amount of time on Contemporary British Literature. We have not yet studied your work, but would like to because we have heard great things about your work.

We have a very flexible schedule so when your schedule is open our schedule is also open. I hope to receive a visit from you or some type of correspondence to let me know you got this letter. Sincerely, Mike Kinsella



























My Johnny was a shoemaker is a country folk song written in 1893 by a man named Heywood Sumner. It is a mix between a love song and a cultural song both for different reasons. You may call it a love song because Sumner made it sound like a women was saying the song . But you may say it is a cultural because a shoemaker was a very popular profession in the 1800’s. But I personally see it as a love song. This song was very popular in Britain, Ireland and Whales and it really put Heywood Sumner into the mix of good writers. Which was a great accomplishment seeing that Sumner was really known for his paintings and sculptures. Not many people find this as a cultural song but if you analyze it you can find it. You could say that shoemaking was big in the 1800’s and later in the song it tells that Johnny goes to sea and there might have been a shortage in fishermen or their might have been at war or something like that. Also people look at it as a love song for good reason because it sounds like a women is saying this to a man and she sounds very in love with him because she talks about him in such a high regard.






























On December 23,2004 on a Sunday night victor Yushchencko was having a nice diner with Ukrainian security service and before he knew it Yushenkco was in a hospital in Ukraine.It turned out dioxins were slipped into his soup. He is extremely lucky to still be alive. Because when the doctors did a blood test it was the second highest reading of dioxins found in the blood ever.

No one has been charged with the crime yet but there are two big leads in the case .One man they are now questioning is Victor Yanukovych, Yushchenkos rival in the up coming election. He had a very strong motive if Yushchenko was out of the picture he would win the election and become president. Another suspect in the case was head of Ukrainian security Kremlin. Kremlin was worried that if Yushchenko took power he would pull Ukraine out of its strategic orbit. It would have been very easy for Kremlin to put the dioxins in the soup because he was at the dinner. Kremlin has been quoted saying ‘ The Ukrainian security service had absolutely nothing to do with the poisoning of Victor Yushchenko’.

On my search of finding poisonings in literature one story jumped out at me. In the play hamlet Act 5 scene 2 there was multiple poisonings. The queen is poisioned by the poison at the end of the sword. Hamlet is also slain by the poison at the end of the sword and in a fury makes Claudius drink the poisoned wine and he also dies.

 Whomever tried to kill Yushchenko failed and the whole plan basically back fired because he ended up winning the election out of pity of his health. However Yushchenko had to withdraw from his position because of his ailing health. Even today 2 years later Yushchenko is still recovering from the illness that followed hi poisoning.



































Language is just a series of grunts and sounds that we use to communicate with each other. One of many languages that we have on this earth is English, which some say is the hardest to learn. Maybe that’s because the language has multiplied ten times in just over one hundred years. That is probably because the English language takes almost all of their words from different languages. Even the word I’m researching comes from another language. Which is “Literature” and it happens to come from the Latin word “Littera” which means individual letter. Which brings me to my Thesis is the word “Literature” helping or hurting the people of America. And I can’t personally think of any possible way “Literature” could hurt the people of America, if anything we need more “Literature” because America is quickly becoming one of the stupidest nations in the world.

I went to three different dictionaries to research the word “literature”. Surprisingly not all of the dictionaries had the same or even similar definitions. In the Oxford English Dictionary the first definition given was an acquaintance with letters and books. But in the American Heritage dictionary it said having to do with symphonic literature and music. You also never got the sense of any kind of music in the Wordnet Dictionary, which was mainly based around creative writing and essays.

In 1375 the word “Literature” was first used by a Leg. Saint XXXI in this sentence “Scho had leyryte of be sewine and part had of al Lateratour”. Which is a Middle English sentence because you can understand most of the words. The next time it was used was in modern English in 1425 by Wyntoun when he said “Command in to Literature.” The third time it was used was in 1513 by saint Bradshaw when he said “ The comyn people without lytterature and good lyke to brute.” Those were the first Three times the word “literature” was used in literature.

The word “Literature” is used differently now in 2006 than it was 631 years ago in 1375. For example there is now musical literature, medical literature, religion literature and even things such as ipod literature. The most known of that list would have to be Medical literature. I know this not because I am brilliant but because I got the most hits on Ebsco. Medical literature is basically just books and notes on medicine. The most recent and unknown would have to be ipod literature because there were only about one hundred articles Ebsco could find.

Three articles I found with “Literature” in were Religion literature, ipod literature and musical literature. The first one was written by Michael Ferber and was about religion literature. In this article it explained how the Bible was one of the first and most important pieces of literature to this day. The second article I read was written by Robert F. Michaels and was about ipod literature and how you could now upload some stories to your ipod. The final article I read was by Stephen Gore and was about musical and symphonic literature. He wrote about how musical literature was hard to come by these days.

I surveyed ten lucky people about what they thought the definition of Literature was. The answer varied tremendously among the people I asked. Maybe that’s because I asked people I knew, people I’ve never met and even people who had come from a different speaking background. Some people for example Caroline Kinsella my mother knew the exact definition like she was reading right from the O.E.D. But others like the foreign women across the street from me did not even know how to say it never mind define it. It shows how the simplest word in English can be hard for people who don’t have an English background.

In conclusion I think I learned a lot from this assignment. Like how to make so much out of such a small thing such as just a single word in our enormous language. I also learned how many steps can be taken before even getting started writing your essay.