English 10: Writing Portfolio

 

Catholic Memorial High School

 

2006-2007

   
   
   
   
   
Research  
   
Creative Writing  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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  Dear Mr. David Abram,

My name is Robert Kane. I attend Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury Massachusetts U.S.A.


I have been very interested in your writings on India. I would like to take a trip to India some
day. We are studying British literature in my grade ten English class. We would love a visit from a
great author such as you. Seeing as how we both love to write books and travel, maybe you would like
to come by and give us a lecture. Or, maybe you could even read us an excerpt from one of your
books. We would love to hear of your exciting adventures and journeys. The fact that you came to see
a school such as mine would most likely get you some extra publicity.


I see you have been to India many times over. You seem to enjoy the books you write on that
country. You are a well regarded travel author if I do say so myself. I see in your book “The Rough
Guide to South India” that you offer information on ways to get to India. You offer great advice on
how to book flights with an airline or online. You offer a quick in depth reference in the table of
contents off all things that are important. Also in your book “The Rough Guide to Corsica” you offer
a great guide to getting beautiful scenery and great items (page 60). The books you write are well
done so that anybody can find out where beautiful places like Centuri-Port and what Muscat is. You
truly have a great writing style.


While reading you books I learnt a lot of facts about India and Corisca. Your book “The Rough
Guide to Corsica” informed me of this secluded island. You said there was a lot to offer on this
island. For example you said, “Jump on a boat to the island’s most spectacularly remote beaches –
loto and Saleccia.” To be able to just get on a boat and go there seems a great dream to me.
If you were to come to my school you would receive many benefits. One of these things includes
great publicity from the local news stations for visiting a school in Boston. Also you could learn
about American culture. Boston Massachusetts is a great place to write a book about too. For
example, we have great dining and entertainment like at the Wang Theater. We have a rich culture in
Boston too. As you may know we have places like the Old North Church and the Freedom Trail. The city
of Boston holds true to a great subject of a traveling book. I hope you realize that also euros are
worth more in America than in England. I would love for you to visit and I look forward to hearing
back from you.


Sincerely,
Robert Kane

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is so much information that one can gather about someone through their letters. Such people
as Robert Browning pose great examples of the ability for one to learn so much from their letters.
To do this investigating you need to know about the author’s lifestyle, new information revealed by
the letter, and the authors writing style. A letter was written to Elizabeth Barrett, for instance,
by Robert Browning on January 10, 1845 and it was much more than any ordinary letter. First of all
it is during the Victorian time period so letter is like the equivalent of a present day telephone
call. The letter seems like almost a letter meant to ask Elizabeth out on a date, or at least to
flatter her thoroughly. There is so much more that is expressed in this letter because that was the
only way for them to communicate to each other.


Browning led a modest life. He received a good education from over 6,000 of his father’s books and
found success as a poet. He failed on multiple poems such as Pauline (which didn’t sell a single
copy at all). Living in the Victorian time period left him open to great opportunities in the
writing field though. Robert Browning would become a very successful poet eight years after his
wife’s death. In the year 1869 The Ring and the Book would make Robert Browning succeed as a poet.
He would become one of the few poets who would contribute so strongly to the nineteenth-century
poetry field. His style of realistic, less poetic wording would influence millions of future poets
as much as his dramatic monologues such as “My Last Duchess” would.


The letter started out saying this is no off-hand complimentary letter that I shall write.” He wrote
the whole letter about how much he loves and admired Elizabeth at such an early and tender age. He
states it so clearly by saying, “I do, as I say, love these books with all my heart-- as I love you
too.” This clearly expresses the previously unknown fact that Robert Browning was completely
obsessed with Elizabeth so early on in his life. This is an amazing piece of info on Robert Browning
and his romantic parts of his life. Elizabeth would eventually become his loving wife of 15 years.
Robert was a very big romantic in his letters as he demonstrates in this one.


Robert Browning wrote many poems through his life. These poems were always gloomy and dark. The
poems he is remembered most for are pieces he did after Elizabeth’s death. Could it have been a
state of depression he never awoke from after his wife’s death that led him to his gloomy
personality? In the letter Browning was very talented in pursuing a more benevolent personality. Of
course, you cannot be a person of gloom if you are trying to go out with a girl. Either way you look
at it browning had a different personality in letters than he did in his poems.


Robert Browning wrote many letters for many people. Like all people, you can learn a lot from their
letters they wrote to other people. There are a few things you must know before you can accurately
investigate a letter. These things are the time period that he wrote the letter along with the
author’s lifestyle, new information revealed by the letter, and the authors writing style. There is
so much potential in every letter you will ever read.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  What would you do for power? Would you ruin another person’s life? Would you make a family man into
a human shield? Politicians have no problem with making other people take the blame for them. Take
U.S. Vice President Dick Chaney, he has no problem with it. Having someone to take the blame is a
daily necessity in politics. It’s like you could call it political insurance. On March 5, 2007 Lewis
Scooter Libby was accused of releasing the CIA Agent Valerie Plame’s information to the media and
the public. He cannot take the blame entirely, if at all. The releasing was granted by those who
held power over him. Fall men are immoral and cause more problems than they solve.


I found an article about this case online which stated a lot of interesting things. The article,
“Will George Bush Risk it for Scooter Libby?” by the Associated Press was about the facts of the
case. It discusses the “chain of blame” in politics. Like, although Scooter was a high authority (a
White House Aid) he was told to release the information to the American public. It had discussed the
fact that the crime was illegal and that some one had to be put in jail. The Article also informed
me that Bush would find it hard to pardon Libby because it would turn into a political scandal very
quickly. The article said, “Such pardons historically have gotten presidents into political
trouble.” These “historical” accounts include first President Bush Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, and
Ronald Regan. The wrong man was placed as it was stated in the article.


This is a crime and someone needs to take the blame for it, but, shouldn’t the real criminal serve
the time in jail? I would think that that would only be fair. You wouldn’t send an innocent “Average
Joe” to jail on a crime another person committed, would you? Well that is what happened in this
case. See, Libby is a family man; he has kids and a wife. He is a man who now won’t see those
memorable days with his kids. This is all done for the profit of one man Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney
gave the overall wellbeing of another in order to save himself. He got to stay in power while
another suffers in his place. The crime was committed and the wrong man is now in jail.


In Macbeth by William Shakespeare fall men are widely used. They form a kind of cover up for
murders. The servants of Macbeth are framed after Macbeth killed the king (Duncan). In Act 2 Scene 2
Lines 55-56 Shakespeare wrote, “I’ll gild the faces of the groom’s withdrawal, for it must seem
their guilt.” The servants were smeared with blood and Macbeth and his wife blamed them as the
culprits. These servants didn’t know what hit them. They had just been sleeping when they were
awoken and most likely swept away to be executed for no good reason. These servants and their
families are now going to be destroyed all because of one man’s lie to get out of trouble.


People will do a lot of bad things for power. Politicians really don’t have a problem with making
other people take the blame for them. U.S. Vice President Dick Chaney has no problem with it. Having
someone to take the blame is a daily necessity in politics but it is morally wrong as well as
Scooter Libby was accused of releasing the CIA Agent information to the media and the public. Mr.
Libby didn’t deserve the false accusation; our second in command should have the common sense to do
what’s best for our nation not for himself.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The one thing that keeps the world from being dysfunctional is language. The English language holds
the world’s economy together. Without the English language business men wouldn’t be able to
communicate and the world economy would fail. There are many words that have helped and hurt the
world. The word “gay” is a great example of this idea. It has evolved over its lifetime of 1330 -
2007 to me multiple things. There is one thing that is for sure, the world would not be the same
without the English language and the word “gay.”


The word “gay” is 677 years old. The word has a rich history and use in the English language. For
625 years this word has traditionally meant happy or joyous. For the last 52 years slang definitions
have arisen for this word, it was in 1955. The slang definition for the word “gay” is homosexual. So
it is clear to see that as time passes the definitions of words in the English language do too.
“Gay” can be defined in many different ways. The Merriam Webster Dictionary, said the definition of
“gay” was, “merry, bright lively, brilliant in color, give to social pleasures, homosexual.” “Gay”
is defined in The American Heritage Dictionary as, “of or having sexual orientation to persons of
the same sex, cheerful and light hearted: merry, bright or lively especially in color.” The New
College Spanish and English Dictionary defined “gay” as, “Homosexual or cheerful.” As you can see
there are many definitions for gay but they’re all similarly related.


The Oxford English Dictionary was a very informative source. It said that gay was first used in
1330 in Lyric P., “Heo is… gracious, stout, ant gay”. It also said gay meant, “of persons, their
attributes and their actions: full of or disposed to joy and mirth; light hearted; exuberantly
cheerful, sportive, merry.” Many famous authors have also used the word gay. For example Chaucer
used it in The Miller’s Tale, “This absolution that iolif was and gay, Gooth with a sencer on the
haliday.” Shakespeare used it in The Pass Pilgrim, “The learned man hath got the lady gay.” Pope
used it in To Miss Blount, “And the gay mourn’d who never mourn’d before”. The word “gay” is popular
in literature and was used by several important authors.


I interviewed various people on the definition of gay. Six out of the ten people interviewed felt
that gay meant homosexual. The people who believed in this definition all were in the educational
system. For example, Anthony Peguro, a fellow Catholic Memorial Student, said that “gay” meant,
“Homosexual.” A student who attended Dedham High School, Chris Dolan, said that “gay” meant,
“.Homosexual.” I asked him to use it in a sentence and he said, “The man was gay.” The question
arises over whether the education system is doing its part in preserving words. The four others I
interviewed said that gay meant happy. These four were already out of the educational process by
many years. I asked Susan Kane for her definition of “gay” and she said it meant, “Happy.” She used
it in a sentence by saying, “It was an extremely gay function.” The education system could very well
be the downfall of the English language.


The people who can best explain whether the word is helpful or hurtful are those who speak English
as a second language (ESL). I interviewed three people who learnt languages other than English
first. They all seemed to come to the same conclusion that it wasn’t that hard to understand. I
asked fifteen year old Anthony Peguro to define “gay” and he said, “Something happy.” Two other
people, Carlo MacDonald and Mousa Bechwati, both said, “Not cool.”


Words get new meanings every day. People are often influenced by the literature they read. In fact,
the majority of new words and the meanings of words came from literature by people like William
Shakespeare. Critics have changed the meaning of the word “gay” through their literature. There are
countless articles that have changed the meaning of the word “gay” to mean a new definition,
homosexual. For example, the article Dead Boys Can't Dance: Sexual Orientation, Masculinity,
and Suicide by Michel Dorais is an article published by the Queens University Press in April of 2007
and uses this new definition. The article Baby Steps: How Lesbian Alternative Insemination Is
Changing the World by Amy Agigian was published by the Wesleyan University Press in June of 2007 and
uses this new concept as well. The article Gay & Lesbian Studies by Laurele Riippa, published by
Publishers Weekly on January 26, 2004 in volume 251 issue 4 on page 155, is another example of this
theme.


So is there a chance that you are gay (by which I mean cheerful)? Of course, the term that jumps to
your mind is probably “gay” meaning a homosexual. Homosexuals deprived the word gay of its true
meaning. “Gay” means happy not homosexual. The history behind the word is foolish as well as
idiotic. It could very well lead to the downfall of the English language.
 

 


Works Cited Page

1. Baby Steps: How Lesbian Alternative Insemination Is Changing the World. Agigian, Amy. Wesleyan
University: Wesleyan University Press. June 2006.
2. Bechwati, Mousa. ESL Personal Interview. May 16, 2007.
3. Connelly, Chris. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
4. Connelly, Matt. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
5. Dead Boys Can't Dance: Sexual Orientation, Masculinity, and Suicide. Dorais, Michel. Queens
University: Queens University Press. April 2006.
6. Dolan, Chris. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
7. Farrell, Matt. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
8. Gay & Lesbian Studies. Riippa, Laurele. Publishers Weekly. January 26, 2004. Volume 251,
Issue 4, Page 155.
9. Guilleren, John. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
10. Kane Susan. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
11. Kinahan, William. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
12. MacDonald, Carlo. ESL Personal Interview. May 16, 2007.
13. Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1989. Page 112.
14. Oxx, Br. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
15. Peguro, Anthony. ESL Personal Interview. May 16, 2007.
16. Peguro, Anthony. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
17. The American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2006.
18. The Merriam Webster Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam Webster, Incorporated,
1994.
19. The Miller’s Tale. Chaucer, Geoffrey. Prentice Hall Press. 2006.
20. The New College Spanish and English Dictionary Third Edition. New York, New York: Amsco School
Publications Incorporated. 2003.
21. The Pass Pilgrim. Shakespeare, William. Prentice Hall Press. 2006.
22. Tierney, Francis. Personal Interview. April 25, 2007.
23. To Miss Blount. Pope. Prentice Hall Press. 2006.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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