English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Shirley Chew, My name is Giddens W. Rateau and I am a student at Catholic Memorial High School in Boston, Massachusetts. I am presently in the tenth grade. In my English class, I am studying current British literature. So far we have learned about writers such as P.G. Wodehouse, Doris Lessing, and Monty Python. As a student I enjoy writing. I take pleasure in writing poems when a rhyme comes to mind, or I write in free verse.

I understand that you enjoy writing about commonwealth, science, literary studies, and historical writings. I am interested in your writings of criticism and non-fiction. I have read your article titled, “The Commonwealth: Pedestal or pyre?” I like the line that read, “In a similar way, our idea of Britain refused to stay fixed, wavering between what the textbooks tell us and what we saw happening in the region.” That line was appealing to me because I like how you mentioned there is a difference from people’s experiences living through history and what textbooks are saying. Your writings are so enriched with your knowledge, every time I read an article I learn something new.

My school, my English teacher, and my class would be delighted to have you visit our school and talk to us in our class. We would love the opportunity for you to share with us some of your work and experiences. If you choose not to visit our school, we will miss out on your excellent work and some of my classmates won’t get the chance to meet you. We think you are truly an inspiring writer and would be joyful if you decide to come and visit our school. Please write back.

Sincerely, Giddens W. Rateau







































“The Female Highwayman‘s” author is unknown. It was collected in 1890 by Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould. He was a song collector. This is not a popular song in the United States of America. I am not aware if it is a popular in England. A woman decides to test her love's faithfulness. This is more of a love story and humorous song. It affected British culture because it gave an early idea of cross-dressing and it also touched on relationships. This song teaches us about culture as well philosophy.

This song was found in Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould’s collection of music. It probably originated in England. Variants are found in Ireland, Canada, Australia and America. The main function of this song was to entertain people to enjoyed comedy and love stories. It most likely influenced women to watch how faithful their husbands were by seeing how important their wedding rings were to them. This might have influenced men to appreciate their wedding rings more so they didn’t get in trouble with their wives.

In the song the lady, Sylvie, which is cross-dressed as man says, “A diamond ring which I know you have, Deliver that, your sweet life to save.” The husband replies, “'The diamond ring is a token won, I will keep it if my life I lose.” With him saying that, the lady sees that he loves her. I would say this song is a product of time as well as a time of the product. I say this because cheating and unfaithfulness to love and relationships has been occurring since this earth was created. Cross dressing is also something that is not favored unless it used for comedy purposes.

One important historical lesson this song teachers is about the culture of cross dressing. Most people never give cross dressing a second thought. It is just something that is known in the world today, but nobody ever stops to think the history of cross dressing.

Another lesson this song teaches is about the philosophy of marriage. “She being tender hearted just like a dove, She rode away from her true love,” woman are constantly checking to see how much their husbands love them. The man is usually the one who cheats and lies in a relationship. In some cases, woman find men to not be trustworthy at all in society.

In conclusion, a lady decides to test her love's faithfulness. Dressed as a male robber, she stops him on the road. He gives her his watch and gold, but refuses to hand over his diamond ring. She lets him go, satisfied of his faithfulness, and later reveals herself. This teaches us a historical lesson about the culture of cross dressing and about the philosophy of marriage.






















On Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, America was devastated with the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City. Thousands were killed, millions were affected. Though these attacks caused mayhem in Manhattan, in other peoples eyes it was a success, a victory, and hard work finally paying off. The blueprints of these attacks were being constructed as early as 1995. Osama Bin Laden, the captain of the terror team, is said to be hiding in a cave some where in Iraq. The only terrorist in U.S. custody is Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui pleaded guilty last year to terrorism conspiracy. He is the only person publicly charged in the United States in connection with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On Friday, February 24th, 2006, Eighty-six people qualified as potential jury members who will determine whether September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui will be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison. I believe this crime was motivated by power in a religious sense. The Middle East views America as sinners, a disgrace, and people who think money is our god. They tried to destroy us out of hatred because of our financial, political, economical, and military power so they could gain more power among themselves.

The trial started the afternoon of March 6th 2006.So far Moussaoui has stayed quiet and let his lawyer do the talking. "This isn't going to be a fair trial," Moussaoui’s lawyer Edward MacMahon said. On Monday, March 13, 2006, A federal judge threatened to throw out the death penalty at the sentencing of Moussaoui after prosecutors disclosed Monday that a government lawyer tried to coach seven witnesses. Brinkema explained the problem to jurors, telling them her order keeping witnesses away from others' trial testimony is a "very important protection of the truth-seeking process of a trial." On Monday, March 27th, 2006, Moussaoui told the court he knew the World Trade Center attack was coming and that he lied to investigators when arrested in August 2001 because he wanted it to happen. "You lied because you wanted to conceal that you were a member of al-Qaida?" prosecutor Rob Spencer asked. "That's correct," Moussaoui said. Spencer: "You lied so the plan could go forward?" Moussaoui: "That's correct." Moussaoui says “ I was supposed to hijack the 5th plane, and crash it into the White House.”

There are definitely other culprits in this case, Osama Bin Laden, for example. The United States just can’t find any of the other terrorists except for one they caught 2 years ago, Richard Reid, better known as “the shoe bomber.” Richard Read was caught trying to light his shoe on fire in a plane that hadn’t taken off yet. He was supposed to be piloting that plane along wit Missouri , but those plans were cancelled.

This crime appears in literature because the tragedy of September 11th has become a major part of American life. There are many books, poems, documentaries, and even movies about this tragedy. One poem about this crime is titled “Where Is God?” by Patricia F. Sheffer. She writes in this poem : “A third plows into the Pentagon Plane number four crashes- many more are gone, Where is God?” “Chorus' of God Bless America ringing in the air, Proving to one and all- Terrorists we will not fear, Here is God” “Peace will come to those in pain For as sure as the sun shines after the rain, GOD IS HERE!!”





















Two years ago, my ex-girlfriend’s sister had passed away. A few hours after the funeral, I took a risk and rang her doorbell. Her father wasn’t home luckily, but her grandmother was. She didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak Italian. She put her face in the window and I said in a loud and clear voice, “Hi, may I talk to Marie?” With the little English she could speak she said, “No thank you.” Marie, awoken from her sleep, came to the door. Her grandmother thought I was trying to sell something. I talked to Marie for a minute or two, hugged her, then went on with my daily life.

Without language, the world wouldn’t be as advanced as it is today. People wouldn’t be able to get one message across without long periods of time. Information could not be pass on, and new ideas would not be spread easily. The power of words is the power that this Earth runs on, not gravitational power or solar power. Without words, how would Jesus fulfill the scriptures? Without words there would be no scripture! The language that has influenced Earth the most is the English language. A word you hear often in this day and age is the word “murder”. Not all words are good, and I believe that the word “murder” is a bad one. It is a bad action as well as a hurtful word to world progress as a typical English word, from the dominant language on Earth today.

The word murder can be used as a verb or a noun. Its noun meaning is : the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought. The meaning of the word as a verb would is: to kill a human being unlawfully and with premeditated malice. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as, “the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought”. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it by saying, “The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice. World Dictionary defines “murder” as, “To kill (another human) unlawfully.” This word came to the English language with similar appearance to the way it appeared in other languages. It also has the same meaning from three different dictionaries. Murder is partly from Middle English murther, from Old English morthor, and partly from Middle English murdre.

According to page 1877 in the Oxford English Dictionary, three definitions of the word “murder” in earlier times are : (1) to kill wickedly, inhumanly, or barbarously (2) To spoil by bad execution, representation, or pronunciation, etc. (3) To consume or spend (time) unprofitably. The first and most common definition is are very similar to ones. The other two definitions probably started the two common sayings “butchered speech”, and “lets kill some time.”

The word murder is used in speech mostly in the news or in the law. Many people murder other people. Murder is commonly used to tell about a crime on televised news, newspaper, etc. In the court rooms and in criminal law, murder is the crime where one or more human beings causes the death of others, without lawful excuse, and with intent to kill or with an intent to cause grievous bodily harm. People who speak English also use the word “murder” as a slang word. For Example, when I asked three people to use murder in a sentence, Ryan McQuaid said, “I was scared when I murdered the kids,” Liam Concannon said, “Abortion is murder,” and Claudio Norvilus said, “I will murder you.”Even though this word has a serious meaning, people use it as a play word at times.

In literature, the word “murder” is mostly used in novels, such as murder crime stories, and murder mystery stories. It is a highly used word in literature because there are many stories which involve deaths and the drama of killings. In the Oxford English Dictionary, it is used the same in literature. For example in 1728 it was used in Morgan Algiers III page 214- “The Spaniards must corruptly and most abusively murder and confound several Letters“. In 1830 the word “murder” was used again in “Marryat King’s Oivin XLV in the sentence, “ Don’t kill Billy; it’s bad enough to have murdered Shakspeare.” The use of this word hasn’t changed since.

“Murder” has been used in literature mostly the same throughout the course of the history of the word. In search of a new use of this word, I found an interesting one in a newspaper source. The newspaper is titled “The UK Times.” The title of the article in which I found the new phrasing is “Murder Car Found.” “Murder” is stilled being used in a sense of killing but has never been seen this way.

In foreign languages, the word means the same as it does in English ever since 1297 when it first was printed in literature. I asked three people who spoke different languages to use murder in their language and Dan Reyes said, “Deseo asesinato,” John Lowery said, “J'assassine des personnes,” and finally Jeanette O’niel said, “Eu assassino povos.” Thought in English the word is murder, in other languages, it looks like the word “assassinate. These people all said, “I murder people” in their native language. Even though these people were not born in the United States, when asked if they knew the word “murder”, they all responding affirmatively saying that they have heard of the word.

In conclusion the word “murder” does no harm to the English Language just because it is a bad action. The word “murder” was used in literature, speech, people who spoke different languages knew the word, and most importantly it is in the Oxford English Dictionary. The word “murder” is not the most innocent word, but it does no harm to the English language.