English 11: Writing Portfolio
Catholic Memorial High School
It was a cold and windy October night. The moon was full, and the electricity was out. With nothing else to do, I decided to look through some old photos. I walked down my basement stairs and started shuffling through pictures, box after box. After a little while, I came across the last box of pictures. It was then when I found something strange. It was a key. It had two ridges, and its faded-silver color made it seem extremely old. As I picked up the key, the electricity had turned back on. An eerie feeling came over me. After observing the key for a few minutes, I decided to go to bed.
I struggled to get to sleep that night. I just couldnt stop thinking about that key. After hours of laying in bed, I got up. I walked down the basement stairs and went through the boxes until I came across the key. As I held the key, there was a flash of lightning and a roar of thunder. This sent chills down my spine. I started to feel and observe the key. I had no clue where it had come from or why it was here. It was then when my half-awakened imagination took over.
The year was 1666. It was a cold and windy night. A bloody battle had just concluded between some colonists and a tribe of Indians.
We really showed those Indians whos boss Feeney!. They wont be coming back here anytime soon., said a colonist.
Yeah., said John Feeney with a tiresome look on his face. As John walked into his house, he nearly collapsed with exhaustion. As he laid back on his chair, John pulled a key out of his pocket and said, I dont know what I would do without you. You are sacred to me.
John continued to think about the key. He thought about the importance of it. The key was like gold to him. He knew he was very lucky to have it.
Father, who are you talking to?, said Johns son Adam as he was walking down the stairs. Whats that you are holding?.
Come here son. Adam, this is a key that is very special to me. My father gave it to me right before he died. I keep it with me for good luck at all times. It never leaves my sight. This key opens any door in this house.
How do you know it brings you good luck?, said Adam as he was curiously staring at the blood on his fathers clothes.
After all the journeys, battles, and skirmishes Ive been in, I have yet to die. It could just be a good luck charm, or maybe something more. Son, before I die, the key will be yours.
There was an awkward silence between the father and son. Adam didnt know what to say. He wasnt sure whether he should be excited or scared.
Its time for bed son., said John as he walked Adam to his room.
As John laid in bed, he was struggling to get to sleep. He wondered if the key was actually protecting him in some way. After laying in bed for a while, John took the key and grasped it tightly in his hand. He suddenly felt a feeling of protection come over him. This helped him fall asleep.
The next morning, John awakened to a scare. As he opened his eyes, there was an Indian standing over him. Before he had time to react, the Indian grabbed him.
No man kills my people. Now you must pay., said the Indian as he stabbed John in the stomach. The Indian then through John down his basement stairs.
As John was rolling on his basement floor in pain, his son ran over and hugged him. John knew he didnt have much time left.
Adam are you ok?, said John. Adam was crying hysterically and would not answer.
Everything is going to be ok. Dont worry son., said John as he was quenching in pain.
Adam continued crying and warned his father not to die. Why didnt the key save you father? Why didnt it save you?
Moments before John died, he opened his hand and gave his son the key and said, Adam, keep this key with you at all times. And when the time is right, open the basement door and get help. Adam nodded.
With his father drifting in and out of consciousness, Adam decided to make a break for it. He ran up the basement stairs and stuck the key in the door. As he opened the door, an Indian was standing in front of him. The Indian showed no mercy and stabbed the child.
The next morning, I woke up. It took me a moment to realize why I was in my basement. But then I thought of the key. I looked all around me for it but I couldnt find it anywhere. After searching for a good twenty-minutes, I gave up. I was walking up the stairs when I saw the key. It was stuck in the basement door.
It is a place like no other. Even though I pass by it everyday, I have yet to stop and think about it. I have yet to stop and enter. The human presence is limited in this area that I like to call, The Wooded Unknown. It is a strip of forest near my home in Dedham, Massachusetts. I have never seen anyone enter these woods, nor leave. I have seen it only from the outside until this day.
Before entering on this cold autumns eve, I noticed how dark the forest looked. The reason for the darkness was the abundant ness of the trees. As I stepped over the rotted, wooden fence, I nearly slipped on a small pile of leaves. There had to be at least a thousand leaves on the ground. They were all different colors. Some were brown, some were yellow, and some were mixed. I picked up one of the leaves and noticed about 3 small holes. They were probably from a bug. As I stared closer at the holes, I began to think about society today. Just like a bug destroys a leaf, humans destroy society. We start wars, for example.
A few days later, I decided to go back to my, Wooded Unknown. The day was dark, damp, and cold. Raindrops were falling from the sky. I quickly entered over the rotted, wooden fence to escape the wetness of the rain. The trees that towered above me provided some, but little cover. I was in a different spot than the other day. It felt as though there were more trees in the spot I was standing in. I became a little claustrophobic. As I looked up, I even felt a little dizzy. I continued to stare up towards the sky until a raindrop unexpectedly hit me on the forehead. This reminded me that anything can happen anywhere. You should always be prepared.
I went back to the forest on a dryer day. Again, I entered over the rotted, wooden gate. I entered from a different point however. I walked deeper in than I usually do. I walked until there was no sign of human life. I walked until I could only see trees and dirt. Then I noticed something that stuck out. It was a tree but it wasnt like the other trees. This tree was ugly and burnt. There was an open space around the tree which led me to believe that there had been a small fire. There was beauty all around, and then there was this. The tree was like a scar on natures face. If there is one thing this day taught me, its that nothing is perfect. Humans are not perfect. Not even nature is perfect.
Days later, I entered the woods yet again. As I stepped back into the peaceful woods, there wasnt really anywhere to go. Snow surrounded me on all sides. The snow went up to my ankles and make me feel a bit uneasy. Every step I took was a struggle. However, with every step, the struggling became less. The twilights sun gave a peaceful vibe to the woods this day. In the distance I heard wings fluttering. It must have been a mother bird bringing food to her children. Animals, such as birds, run their society much different than we as Americans do. In an animal society, their lives are endangered every single day. As humans, or Americans, we dont think about finding food and surviving. We expect things to be given to us. Its time that our society wakes up and realizes we are animals too. Every step I took in the snow this day was a bit of a struggle, just like the struggles of life.
Upon entering my, Wooded Unknown, the cold mornings wind struck me in the face. It felt as if invisible snowballs were pelting me. The snow had deseeded from last time. However, the ground was much more slippery. There was a shiny patch of ice about five feet away. It was roughly three feet wide. This patch of ice had obviously not been touched. I could not see any footprints but my own. I could hear only the whistling of the wind, and the calmness of my own breath. The patch of ice was sitting there harmlessly when I stepped on it. Suddenly, it shattered. My foot slipped and went ankle deep into the water which was below the ice. I felt shivers go through my body. Meanwhile, I continued to stare at the floating pieces of ice. These pieces, reminded me of the pieces of my life. The pieces, instead of floating in the water, are floating in the coldness of my mind.
Many writers of the nineteenth century wrote about themes such as nature, and civilization. However, an author such as Edgar Allen Poe was completely different. Edgar Allen Poe will always be remembered as a strange, poor man, who was one of the greatest writers in the 19th century. What made Poe great was his uniqueness from other writers. Poe went where other writers dared not to. Using themes such as death, murder, and basically the darker sides of human-kind, Poe separated himself from other writers in the 19th century. Some of Poe's most famous works include, "The Raven", and, "The Fall of the House of Usher". One poem of Poe's that is even darker and more mysterious than these great works is, "Spirits of the Dead". What makes this poem different is how Poe explores the mystery of life after death.
Poe's choice of words sets an eerie and mysterious theme to the poem like no other writer has done. Take, for example, the second line of the first stanza. It reads, " 'Mid dark thoughts of the gray tomb-stone."(2) When the reader reads this, one immediately thinks of a cemetery. Another example is, "And the mist upon the hill; Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken."(25) This line makes one think of a phantasmal and foggy graveyard scene. The way Poe says, "Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken", leads me to believe he is talking about spirits, or ghosts. Lines like these almost make the reader feel the sensation of being in a graveyard surrounded by ethereal beings. Poe paints a picture in the reader's mind like no other author has done in the 19th century.
In order to receive the message, or meaning in this poem, Poe makes you work like no author has done during this time period. The main reason for this is the vocabulary that Poe uses. For example, Poe writes, "Not one, of all the crowd, to pry into thine hour of secrecy."(3) Also, Poe writes, The Spirits of the dead, who stood in life before thee, are again in death around thee, and their will shall overshadow thee; be still.(7) Here, it seems Poe is holding a secret, and the spirits that surround him have something to tell him. Will they tell him what death is like? Will they share the secret of life? It is unclear. In fact, we never find out what death is. Poe explains it as, A mysteries of mysteries!(28) This is what is great about Poe. He consistently keeps readers in suspense through the poem. Then at the end, he slams you with the truth, which is that life is a mystery.
Edgar Allen Poe is truly one of a kind. His works have remained strong, as well as matchless and unique. The works of Poe, especially ones such as, "Spirits of the Dead", have stood out above other writers since the nineteenth century. However, there are many writers today that write about themes such as death and ghosts. Take Stephen King for example. King is a widely-known author who writes about dark things, such as Poe did. I consider Stephen King of no less importance then Poe. Both writers are unique, and capture your attention like no other writer can.
Formula one racing is a sport unlike any other. Formula one racing, or more commonly known as F-1 racing, has been in the sports world since the 1890's. However, the world wars did have effects on racing. There were minor set backs because of the wars. This is one of the reasons why the first grand prix did not occur until 1950, in France. F-1 Racing did not come into America until about 40 years ago. The object of the game is very simple: Beat the other drivers to the finish line. F-1 is certainly an exciting sport. After all, cars are traveling at approximately 200 MPH. Many people do not consider this sport to be American. However, I cannot agree with this. According to the Economist, F-1 racing is, “..America’s favorite motor sport.” Although the origins aren't American, many Americans love the sport of F-1 racing. Soon, I believe, the sport of Formula One will rise into the throne of which other sports are held.
There are many rules in the sport of Formula One. Many people think the only rule is to pass the other drivers. Surprisingly, many people who were surveyed about the rules of Formula One did not know much. For example, Mike Casserly said, “Your not allowed to crash or stop.” Alan Torres simply said, “Go as fast as you can.” However, these ideas are far from all the rules in Formula One. The rules range from flags, to starting procedures, to sportsmanship, to technicalities. Before the race starts, approximately thirty minutes, the racers must run through a practice lap and get in their position. Fifteen minutes before the start of the race, the pits will close. When the clock reaches one minute, the drivers are required to start their engines. The green light will then signal. Now, the drivers must run through another practice lap to take their position. The person in the first spot is referred to as having the, "Pole Position." The cars are then required to stop after this lap. After a count down from five, the race begins. During the race there are many signals, as shown through flags, to give drivers instructions of information. A checkered flag, possibly the most noticeable and famous flag, is used to inform the drivers that the race has ended. A yellow flag indicates that there is danger on the track. Following a yellow flag is usually a green. This means that a hazard has been cleared up. A blue flag is not used too often. However, when it is, it informs the driver that a faster car is behind him that is trying to gain position. Red flags mean that the race has stopped. Any flag that has red and yellow stripes means that the track is slippery. Lastly, white flags mean that there is a slow moving vehicle on the track, such as a track. There are also many obvious rules which I will not get into. This includes rules such as not to intentionally harm a driver. There are also many technical rules which may involve tires, engine parts, etc.
Through my own observations I have noticed how American this sport really is. By just watching a race on a Sunday afternoon, I began to feel the pride fans have for Formula One racing. According to the broadcaster, there were over 100,000 fans who attended this race! That is one big crowd. After searching around, I found that racing is the fastest growing sport in America. The number of fans have been multiplying every year. Before I ever watched a formula one race, I did not picture the sport as exciting. However, I then realized how exciting it really is. It is an adrenaline-pumping, heart-wrenching sport. These guys put their lives on the line for every race. This is why, I believe, Americans love this sport so much. I guarantee you this: once you watch a race, you will want to watch more.
Many people wouldn’t think that racing would be something to write about. After all, is it really exciting to be entertained with the specifications of racing? In the arts and entertainment industry in America, formula one racing is not a topic that is often written about. In fact, I could only find one instance in arts and entertainment which was about racing in general. This work is a song written by the band, Metallica. The name of the song is called, very intelligently, “Fuel.” It is a descriptive, fast, hard-rock song that greatly describes the mental image of a race car driver. Take some of the lyrics for example. “Give me fuel, Give me fire, Give me that which I desire.” The song also describes how a race car driver thinks. “Turn on, I see red. Adrenaline crash and crack my head, Nitro junkie, paint me dead.” “I run across through black and white. War horse. War head. White knuckle tight, through black and white.” The black and white, I assume, is describing a racing flag. Also, race car drivers are often said to obtain white knuckles after driving for a long time. As you can see, this is a song that greatly describes racing. Although F-1 racing is not in a lot of literature in America, the sport is still very popular.
Lameuga Fonkem is an amateur Formula One race car driver. Although not looking to go professional, he still enjoys the sport. He believes it is so popular in America because, “Most American sports are an adrenaline rush.” When asked why he enjoys racing so much, Fonkem responded, “It (referring to the car) makes a cool sound when you whip around people.” This is only one example of an American who enjoys racing.
Many Americans consider formula one racing to be a male dominated sport. However, in recent years, a female, American, racer has come on to the racing scene. Her name is Danica Patrick. When she was asked about her entering the sport, she replied, “I think it’s what the sport needs.” She is, of course, referring to a female such as herself being in the racing world. Danica doesn’t believe that the males have an advantage over her at all. For example, when questioned about how she thinks a race will go, Patrick replied, “Well, you know, I think I have a great chance of winning this race.” Patrick also believes that she is just as good or even better than a lot of racers, including all female racers that have come before her. For example, Patrick said, “And it’s not that there hasn’t been a female that’s come through before, but one that’s truly competitive and truly race savvy and goes out there, qualifies and races well, and does it consistently.” Danica Patrick obviously feels no intimidation by being one of the few female drivers in the sport of racing. I think after seeing Danica Patrick, more and more females will consider entering the world of Formula One racing.
Formula One racing is becoming more popular in America than ever before. For example, tracks are coming up everywhere. According to the Economist, “Only three races are held outside of the U.S.” Formula One races are gaining prime time television slots. When a survey was held about the popularity of the sport in America, 50% thought it was popular while 50% did not. The people who thought it was popular brought up better arguments than those who didn’t. For example, Joe Green who does not think the sport is popular in America, stated, “It’s not popular because there are better sports.” That is a pretty broad answer. However, those that thought it was popular brought up good points. Jake Smith said, “..people like to go fast.” This is true. I sure do like to go fast. Basically, as Mike Casserly would put it, “It is growing and people are becoming more interested.” Lameuga Fonkem says, “It’s a great sport. It needs to be around for years.”