English 11: Writing Portfolio

Catholic Memorial High School

2005-2006

Research
Creative Writing
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When I use to go to my brother's friends house I could always find certain old objects and other things of interest around his neighborhood. While walking through the nieghbor's yard I noticed there was a small opening at the back of the house. In sight I could see a dirty looking knife. After looking at it I went to pick it up. It looked like a dagger probably used many years ago. It had a leather cover and a worn out leather handle. The blade was about 6 inches long and it had jagged edges.

It was significant to see such an old dagger still around in the city today. It was very dirty and you couldn't really tell if it had been used in the past. When I asked about the dagger I found out that it had been stashed under this ladies' house before she moved there. When I heard that I really wanted to know why someone would leave a dagger under their house. The man that owned the house before bought it in the early 1900's. So, this knife probably was made in the early 1900's in Boston and it has stayed on that street in Roslindale ever since.

After talking with the lady that lived here I found out that the man that lived there before was a carpentar. I really didn't know much about what they do but I would think that maybe the dagger was used back then for his work. When I first saw the knife I was thinking that it was hidden there for a bad reason such as it was used as a weapon and it was hidden from the police. It did look like it could be used for work seeing how worn out the leather on it was. The man had lived his whole life in Boston and he was a true american. I believed now that it was made probably in Boston.

Talking about this man was very interesting. A strange thing that I heard though is that he built the house himself. It was a very strange looking area where I found the dagger. I was curious on why he built this small small in the back of the house. After looking inside the area and where the dagger was I guessed that he might of made it to store some of his stuff. It was strange knowing that the only thing under there was a bunch of leaves and a hidden knife. I would of thought of him putting more stuff inside of it. After crawling through and around it I did not find anything else and it was disappointing because I thought maybe there were some more hidden stuff in there.

I didn't think that one worn out knife could really have such an interesting story behind it. I found out a lot about a man just because of what he put under his house. I would like to know more though about why it was put there and it lasted there for so many years. Why wasn't there any other items hidden there too? I had many questions about the man and the house but since he didn't live there I won't be able to find them out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Minister’s Black Veil Nathaniel Hawthorne was a very different author than others in the 1800’s. He seemed to like to write more about the evil in the world rather than the good. He was different from most, in a way that made him a better author. His views on the world gave him better ideas for fictional stories. In, “The Minister’s Black Veil”, he describes the Puritan times and how different their nature was then it is to ours today. Hawthorne gives details of the haunting times and really can get you interested on what went on in that time.

One thing that got me interested in this story was the black veil that is talked about throughout the story. It is a given to Rev. Hooper and he believes that it is unlucky and gives him non-disclosure. Hawthorne uses the black veil as a symbol of mystery. No one can really describe why, but there’s something about the black veil that doesn’t have an answer. Rev. Hooper doesn’t know why and wants to know how something so plain can give such bad feelings. “At that instant, catching a glimpse of his figure in the looking glass, the black veil involved his own spirit in the horror which it overwhelmed all others.”(322) Back then there was not a lot of things that could keep you interested.

If I had to describe one theme of, “The Minister’s Black Veil”, I think one word would be appropriate, loneliness. Rev. Hooper believed that the black veil was giving him loneliness. It is true that in this story loneliness is one of the key points, especially with Rev. Hooper. Everyone wanted to know the secret behind the black veil and why it gave such bad instincts, but there was no way to know. The black veil in some ways was a good thing for these people because it gave them something to talk about and to think about, but not for Rev. Hooper, it gave him loneliness and feeling of discomfort from the others around him.

Hawthorne does a good job of describing the feelings that people had towards secrets and how they can be good and bad for a society. In those days secrets could lead to trouble. The black veil was a secret concealed that had imaginary powers. It really got into the head of Rev. Hooper and made people who saw him think that he was a changed person for having it. That is not the case though. Hawthorne used this story to try and bring to life an object that has no meaning. To some, it did have a meaning.