English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mr. Dangor

Hello my name is Ryan McQuaid I am writing to you from my English 10 class at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. We are currently studying about contemporary British literature. Something that I have found out about these readers is that they all base there writings on there lives. I understand that you are from Johannesburg South Africa, and that’s somewhere were I have always wanted to visit. In your poetry you take a look at life which I also view.

My Class is just studying modern classics such as 1984. All these books in which we are reading are good, but I would much rather read poetry from someone who is alive and has a more modern view on things and other topics. One poem which you wrote that I really enjoyed reading was “Bitter Fruit”. One line I really enjoyed was “Good men had done all kinds of things they could not help doing, because they had been corrupted by all the power someone or something had given them.” I found this line very true with many people who abuse there power.

I have also noticed that you have recently won a award for your fiction book, Bitter Fruit. I would like to say congratulations to you for winning this award I am sure that you must be extremely proud of yourself for winning over 3 awards over the years that you have been a professional writer. That is a goal that I have set my eyes on as well. Someday I wish to become a writer and I have used you as inspiration for one of my first poems called “ A life in Boston”. I can only wish that someday I reach the standard of your writing

Here is the part of my letter where I as you of a favor. I would truly enjoy it if you could come to my school in Boston, Massachusetts and share your work with my class and I. I have believe that your work is something that my classmates and the faculty at my school would very much enjoy. If you don’t come then we will miss out on you spectacular work and miss a true modern poet. Our schedule is open throughout May. If you could write back, if you get the chance I would enjoy reading your letter on a cold fall’s day with a warm cup of coffee, and if you can come to my school. Thank you for taking this time to read my letter Sincerely, Ryan McQuaid





















The Irish song the Wild Rover is a very old song written in the late 1700's. The author who wrote it is still unknown to this day. All we know is that this is one great song. Over all the years this has been one of the most re-sung songs by such famous groups such as the very well known and liked the Irish group the Dubliners, who are all natives of Ireland. With remakes from all artists ranging from old Irish or the new and modern music. This song is sure to be a classic for the next 200 years as well.

The basic understanding of this song is that this is a man who like said in the first opening lines “ I have spent all me money on whiskey and bear” has made some obviously bad decisions in his life and wants to correct them. In the second verse of this song he goes to the Alehouse or the bar and asks for credits so that he could maybe get a drink. And the owner responds I can get a customer like you any day. From spending all his money and being a drunk all the trust in which he was once given is gone from his bad choices and all the bad decisions that he has made in the past. The third verse is the same idea he goes on to the landlord and gives her 10 pence which back then was a great some of money. And she cant believe it because he had told her so many times that he would pay the rent and never did and now that he is finally paying her. The fourth verse which is my own personal favorite, the man goes home and he refers to himself as the “prodigal son” which is a story from the Bible. In the story there is a son who goes off and loses all the money his father had given him on buying alcohol and girls and comes back home to his father and asks for forgiveness and his father welcomes him home and has a great party for the boy saying that his son has returned. And it ends with him saying “And, when they've caressed me as oft times before I never will play the wild rover no more”.

The basic idea of this entire song is to be able to make the right decisions in life, and if you don’t, to be man enough to step up and say that you have been wrong and take the consequences and change your way of life for the better.


























The world ever since the dawn of time has been surrounded by language, or in some form of communication. Language has changed , become more diverse , languages have died and there are new languages constantly being formed. But there is one in particular that seems to stick out thats “English.”English is a language in which all major countries of the world have come accustomed to but why..? its not the oldest language, its one of the most difficult to learn, and is always changing. A excellent example of words always changing is underground with new meaning always coming from such a simple word. The question is will English be around in thousands of years? Or is English going to become the next Latin where when the empire died, that language followed as well. Is English the language for the universe and all modern countries?

The Etymology behind the word underground can be traced back as far as 1571. Such a simple word has stuck around in society for so long and has changed to fit cultures and has become a word so versatile that it has come to have many new meaning which are always being used. The first sentence this word ever appeared in was in 1598 by Florio Solvernce who said “ of or pertaining to things underground.” From that one sentence the meaning of the word has become the universal meaning for hundreds of years.

Other dictionary’s that I looked in where most defiantly not as descriptive as the OED but had definitions none the less. Dictionary.com defined the word as “situated; occurring or operating below the surface of the earth”. These meanings have come to be known as the main meaning of the word “underground”

The OED or Oxford English Dictionary, the largest dictionary. The word underground first meaning is “below the surface of the ground” The second definition of the word underground is “in secrecy or concealment; in a hidden or disguised manner.” the OED being the largest and oldest dictionary is sure to have all the meanings right..? No this word underground has constantly been changing since it was first used. The English language is notorious for having words mean multiple things, and have new meanings.

Some modern usages of the word “underground”, has come in many different forms by a variety of people. Mr. Ryan used the word by saying “below the ground”, arguably the most common use of the word itself. The word “underground” in the city has taken new roots as becoming known as a term for hip-hop artists and mixtapes. Giddens Rateau used it by saying “the underground mixtapes are the hottest out” . By these two different meanings alone you can tell that the word “underground” has come a long way from its original meaning first used in 1579. There are sure to be many other different meanings as well, just as they have changed in the past they will surely change in the future as well.

The usages of the word “underground” have changed in literature as well, from its original meaning of being used to describe something under the earth to becoming another term for hip hop mixtapes? This word has fooled many people into believing that it only has one use, but that is far from the truth. I was able to find a modern day use of the word, in which you would not find everyday in a ordinary dictionary. For example Mos Reeves a writer for the BillBoard music magazine describes the new modern use of the word with the article titled “Underground hip-hop acts surface at a club near you”. In this article Mos describes the upcoming artists and how the underground music scene has produced some of the most well known hip-hop artists today such as Juelz Santana a Harlem born rapper who is only 22 years old. Clearly the original definition of the word is still being used, but many new definitions are beginning to surface and get more attention.

The word “underground” has not only changed in American terms, or in the hip-hop world. But this word has gone worldwide with new meaning’s surfacing constantly. In Canada the “underground” is a group of malls located in Montreal which I had a chance to visit a few years ago. The “underground” a very popular shopping area with hundreds of stores for every type of person and dozens of spots where you can find almost any cuisine in which you desire. Another example of this word having a new meaning is the in Great Britain. The “underground” is another term for the subway system which is located in the city of London. A proper term used since the subway system is located “below the surface” pertaining to its original definition.

Throughout this paper the thought on my mind has been is English the new Universal language for all to learn. As my conclusion it is not the universal language some may think it will become for multiple reasons. Many great languages that have been spoken throughout history have been either not spoken my many, or completely wiped out. A excellent example of this is the Latin language. A language made popular by the Roman Empire which flourished for years when the Empire was at its peak. But when the Empire of Rome fell the language slowly died out along with it. I am not saying that America is going to come to a end any time soon but history is known to repeat itself and I believe the English language is going to do so as well. The English language is at its peak and is thriving unbelievably, but it cannot become a universal language of the world. I have come to the fact that not one language will ever be able to become the Worlds official language for this reason.