English 10: Writing Portfolio

 

Catholic Memorial High School

 

2006-2007

   
   
   
   
   
Research  
   
Creative Writing  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  .Dear Susan Gates

I would like to start this letter by introducing myself. My name is Han-Sung Park and I am a
sophomore at Catholic Memorial High School in Boston, Massachusetts. I am studying British
Literature in my English 10 class now. I really enjoyed reading your book "Dusk.” The story is
so compelling. So I would like to invite you to my class to teach a lesson for us so we can
understand British Literature more easily and get great information from a real British writer.

I found some information about your life on the Internet. It said you were born in 1950, in Grimsby
on the Lincolnshire coast. At 18 you went to Africa to teach in a school in Malawi, before returning
to England to study English and American literature at Warwick University. I found the really
interesting that you studied English and American literature both. So I thought you could tell us
about your experience of learning about literature and tell us some differences between American and
British literature.

Your book "Dusk" is the fantastic fiction story about how a future scientist wanted to
experiment to see if humans could have vision like hawks. Dusk, the young girl who they experimented
on, knows nothing about herself. She can be very dangerous to humans and to herself, depending on
her mood. They keep her in a cage like place that has gas to make her sleepy so she won’t hurt
herself. When the military center gets destroyed, Dusk and all the other animals run to a near by
town called “Prospect” that no one lives in anymore, and she has to learn how to survive on her own.
There are many problems they face, and one of them is especially dangerous. I like this book because
it has adventure and extraordinary details that make the story even better.

In your book, I found a pretty amusing section in page 4. Somebody said “What the hell is it?” For
the most, authors don’t not use the swear words in their book, especially books for children. But
you use a word what we say sometimes, and that word you give us can help us to feel normal and
little bit comfortable. That makes us believe in your writing and faith that your book shows real
situations.

Since our class is studying British literature, I would like to get a chance to learn British
literature from a real British writer. It would be very nice and a great honor if you could come to
my school and tell us what you think and know about British literature, about being a writer, and
about your life too if it is possible. I know this is a really big favor to ask you, but if you
could come and having a time to teach us, that would be really nice. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Han-Sung
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  This letter was written in January 22, 1893, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in response to Mr. Stead. Mr.
Stead had asked him whether he would be willing to work together on writing a novel for the
magazine; Conan Doyle wrote this letter to refuse Mr. Stead’s suggestion. There are three ideas we
can find in this letter that reveal something that most people do not know about Arthur Conan Doyle.


Mr. Stead’s business proposal was an exciting one, which would certainly bring big financial
success. Even Conan Doyle agreed in the letter, saying, “I firmly believe that a vast number of
people would be very interested in a serial which followed events, and that a big financial success
might ensue.” This belief about financial success was a very reasonable because of the time when
this letter was written. The Victorian era was the great age of the English novel—realistic, thickly
plotted, crowded with characters, and long. It was the ideal form to describe contemporary life and
to entertain the middle class. In those days, people actually were excited about reading new novels,
just like people today are excited about new movies. Besides, Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the most
famous writers during that time period. He was especially acclaimed for his new method of writing
that used science, criminal’s mentality, and humor in the detective novel. His great achievements
included “A Study in Scarlet,” “The Sign of Four,” and “The Strands.” With an all-star cast of
authors that included Conan Doyle, Mr. Stead’s project was sure to succeed.

However, in this letter Arthur Conan Doyle refused Mr. Stead’s suggestion. Mr. Stead thought if they
work together and write a novel for the magazine, they could earn big amount of money. Mr. Stead
already asked some other popular writers to work together. But Conan Doyle disagreed with this
opinion. Conan Doyle thought literary writing is more important then popular writing and money was
not his interest. You can figure this out from some sentences.

The sentence “I am convinced that it would be impossible to make it good from a literary point of
view-it must be uneven, disjointed, and superficial” reveals Conan Doyle thought literary or serious
writing is more important than popular writing. Later, he says, “I firmly believe that a vast number
of people would be very interested in a serial which followed events, and that a big financial
success might ensue” this reveals Conan Doyle thought good writing is more important than money. The
sentence “There remains only incident, which a good craftsman only uses as a means for elucidating
character. Incident for any other purpose is the lowest form of art” reveals Conan Doyle has lost
respect for Mr. Stead.

Perhaps because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a doctor, all of his writings seem to have a very logical
structure. We already saw in this letter how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle refused Mr. Stead’s offer very
tactfully, using very good reasoning to support his position. We can see that structure from this
sentence from his letter. “I firmly believe that a vast number of people would be very interested in
a serial which followed events, and that a big financial success might ensue.” We can also see Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle’s characteristic logical style in one of his works, “The Hound of the
Baskervilles.” In the second to last chapter of this mystery novel, detective Sherlock Holmes
surprises everyone by solving the death mystery again with great ease. "A dog!" said
Holmes. "By Jove, a curly-haired spaniel… This paste in the tin is no doubt the luminous
mixture with which the creature was daubed. It was suggested, of course, by the story of the family
hell-hound, and by the desire to frighten old Sir Charles to death… It was a cunning device, for,
apart from the chance of driving your victim to his death.” This is the sentence from “The Hound of
the Baskervilles.” From this excerpt we can easily see Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s logical style of
writing. His character Sherlock Holmes uses his knowledge and impressive deductive reasoning to
solve the problem.
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On August 21, 1983, an influential Philippine politician, Benigno Aquino, was shot dead at the
Manila International Airport. Benigno Aquino was on his way to Manila, returning home from his
eight-year long imprisonment. There were many suspicions around Aquino’s assassination. Through a
witness on the plane it was revealed that man who shots Aquino on the head was wearing a military
uniform. After a long investigation, people found that Ferdinand Marcos and his cousin Gen. Fabian
C. Ver, who was also a former armed forces chief, were involved in the assassination. In fact, many
men in the military were found guilty of a conspiracy. Later, these men claimed that the
assassination was ordered by Marcos. Before the presidential election, Marcos thought Aquino was an
obstacle for his winning so he ordered that assassination.

When the Aquino was on the way back to Philippine, he said, “If it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s
bullet, so be it.” So he had an idea about assassination and he knew he was in danger. After
Aquino’s death, his wife Corazon Aquino fought in opposition of Marcos’s power. On December 16,
1985, while running for presidency, she said, “If I am elected, I will file charges again Marcos for
the Murder of my Husband.” Years after that in an another interview, she was more reconciliatory:
“My husband was incarcerated for seven years and seven months and it was one of the military that
shot him. But I’m no longer just the widow of Ninoy. I am the President of the Philippines.”

After the Aquino’s assassination, Corazon C.Aquino had blamed Ferdinand Marcos for the killing. The
high court said the former armed forces chief, Gen. Fabian C. Ver, and the 25 others was
orchestrated by Marcos. General Ver and Marcos fled to Hawaii after a military-civilian revolt in
February. Another defendant, Air Force Capt. Felipe Valerio, also fled the country. The Philippine
court convicted 16 people of murdering Benigno Aquino at the Manila Airport and acquitted 20 others
in the1983 slaying. The court sentenced the 16 to life imprisonment and ordered them to pay $300,000
to the late Senator’s heirs.


A similar account of murder crime is found in Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar.” Caesar was killed
in a power struggle with his opponents just like Aquino. In the line, “Caesar to read his scroll.
But Caesar ignores him and enters the Senate,” and “The conspirators gather around Caesar and he
sees his trusted friend Brutus among them. They pull out their swords and stab Caesar,” we can
reveal that Caesar’s assassination was planned by senates who were afraid about Caesar’s power. Also
not only one person involved in the crime. Like Aquino’s situation, there were more than 16 people
were involved. In the Caesar’s case, there were many senates and his stepson Brutus was involved.

Ironically, after the assassination, the power of the murderer was eventually lost. After the
assassination of Aquino, Marcos was elected for president. But people found that he was involved in
murdering Aquino, people started the movement against the Marcos’ government. On February 25, 1986,
the movement called “People Power” was broken out. These movements against Marcos pushed out the
former government and established the new government which was ruled by Corazon Aquino. Marcos fled
to the Hawaii and he died in there.

   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of many important purposes and roles ‘language’ has, its communicative power to connect individuals
may be the most essential. Individuals with their own unique thoughts and opinions learn to co-exist
and live interdependently with the help of language, because it enables people to express how they
feel and think. In this sense, English is a very special and powerful language, since it has become
the most dominant language in the world. People almost everywhere in the globe consider English as
the most important language to learn after their own national language. Ultimately, English has
become a ‘global language’ that brings people from different nations together. Interestingly, the
English language also adopted many foreign vocabularies as its own. Among the vast pool of English
words, I believe the word “peace” to be a very influential word that helped the world. This word
helps the world to define one of the most important things that we have to have to live on Earth
very simply. Also even people who live in the regions where English is not the primary language know
this word.

In the ordinary dictionaries, we easily find the definition of word “peace.” In the American
Heritage Dictionary, it defines the word peace as “the absence of war or other hostilities.” In the
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, it said “a state of tranquility or quiet: as a: freedom from civil
disturbance.” Also in the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of law, it defines the word “peace” for “a
state of tranquility or quiet.” So we can figure out the word “peace” is used in very similar
meanings in many different areas.

In the Oxford English Dictionary, it defines the word “peace” for “freedom from war or
hostilities,” “freedom from civil commotion and disorder,” “freedom from disturbance or
perturbation.” Those three definitions have almost same meanings.

People use the word not only in writing but also in speech. I asked a couple of people about how
they use the word “peace” in their normal lives. First person I asked was James Yoo, who was born in
Korea and lived there for about 15 years, and he said he did not feel much difficulty in learning
that word. He used that word in the sentence “I want peace in this world.” For him, the word “peace”
meant no suffering, no fighting, and no conflict. The second person I asked was YoungJae Jung who
was also born in Korea and lived there for about 16 years. He said the sentence “I need a peaceful
life.” For YoungJae, the word “peace” implied undisturbed, quiet, and pleasant state of being.
In literature, Caxton in the Fables of Aesop (1484) wrote, “After grete were cometh good pees
(peace).” Here, the word was used to mean ‘state of no war and suffering’; when there is a great and
respectable king, there also comes peace. Later in 1652, Milton, Sonn. Cromwell wrote “Yet much
remains to conquer still; peace hath her victories no less renowned then war.” Here also, the word
‘peace’ was used in contrast to the word ‘war’.
In a news article titled, “US ‘peace mom’ quits protest,” the interviewee claimed, "no one
paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying...” Here, the word “peace”
means no suffering or dying. In a Wikipedia article on “peace,” it is suggested that the word could
mean “calm, serenity, and silence.”
Although the word “peace” is an English word, its significance in meaning and the dominance of
English language in today’s world have made this word almost a globally understood word. Even in a
foreign country like Korea, people use the English word “peace maker” to describe someone who
resolves conflicts, instead of coming up with a Korean equivalent word.

Citation
1. Alex Lee Personal Interview. April 24, 2007

2. YoungJae Jung Personal Interview. April 24, 2007

3. James Yoo Personal Interview. April 24, 2007

4. Kyle Clement. Personal Interview. April 26, 2007

5. Kason Park. Personal Interview. April 26, 2007

6. American Heritage Dictionary, New York, New York, Dell Book

7. Oxford English Dictionary (2001 edition), Oxford, England, Oxford Incorporated

8. Merriam Webster's Dictionary of Law (10th edition), Springfield, Massachusetts,

Merriam Webster Incorporated

9. Merriam Webster's Dictionary

10. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_peace_mom_quits_protest/articleshow/2085060.cms

11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace

   
   
   
   
  .