English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  Dear Mr. Hornby,

Hi my name is Kyle Ryan and I am a student who attends Catholic Memorial high school in Boston
Massachusetts. I am a tenth grade student and I am currently taking a British Literature course. For
the first term we are studying British authors and I came upon your name quite by accident, as I was
watching the movie “Fever Pitch” on television and noticed your name in the movie credits. After
doing some research, I was totally impressed by the many awards you have received for work. The
William Hill Sports Book of the Year, the E. M. Forster Award, and the WH Smith Award for Fiction,
is kind of like winning the triple crown of baseball.

I have also read that your son Danny has autism and you are the co-founder of Tree House, which is
a chariable school for severely auticitc children in London where your son had attended as a
student. Personaly I can relate to you because my cousin Matthew a person I love is autictc and my
family, like yours does, charitable work on behalf autictic children in Boston.

Even though I am not very fimilair with all your work, I found a fictional book by the name of “How
to be Good” that you had written. What struck me was your outlook on compassion, morality and
familial, social responsibility. One particular passage that I have found started off like, “I am in
a car park in Leeds when I tell my husband I don't want to be married to him anymore. David
isn't even in the car park with me. He's at home, looking after the kids, and I have only
called him to remind him that he should write a note for Molly's class teacher” your character,
Katie Carr who finds her self in an desperate and empty situation that is all to real in today’s
world. But it is Katie’s husband David who changes his live style from a sarcastic self-opportunist,
to an overall good person who adopts the pure thoughts of life and does the unthinkable by giving
away his worldly belongings. Truly everyone will read your book finds this quite humorous.

What I truly would like to know is if you would like to come to Catholic Memorial, to share with my
British Literature classmates some of the passages, your thoughts and ideas about conflict and
desires. I would like them to experience the presence of a real British author, one who is very
talented and evidently loves what he does for a living. I look forward to hearing from you and hope
you will consider my invitation. I think we will both would greatly benefit from the experience.

Thank you for your time and I hope someway or another that you can make it to Boston.


Kyle Ryan









On the 25th of April 1917, a famous British poet known for his shocking, realistic war poetry
on the horrors of warfare who and heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon wrote a letter
home to his mother about his status in the war zone of War World I. The author was Wilfred Owen, who
was an active 2nd Lieutenant for the Manchester Regiment stationed in Germany and was regarded to be
one of the leading poet writers during the time of the war.

Wilfred Owen was born one of four children on March 18th 1893. Owens parents were Tom and Susan
Owen, who had raised their children in Oswestry in Shropshire. Wilfred was educated at the
Birkenhead Institute and at Shrewsbury Technical School and was inspired by the great poet, John
Keats and a variety of writers in the Bible. He had became an assisant teacher to the Vicar of
Dunsden. During the time of 1911, he had failed to win a scholoraship that would allow him to
attend college.

On the 26th of October 1915, Owen enlisted into the army and became apart of the Artists’
Rifiles. After two years at war, Wilfred wrote a letter to his mother Susan and tells her about his
experience of the grueseome war. Wilfred describes his surroundings in the letter’s, “For twelve
days I did not wash my face, nor take off my boots, nor sleep a deep sleep. For twelve days we lay
in holes, where at any moment a shell might put us out. I think the worst incident was one wet night
when we lay up against a railway embankment. A big shell lit on the top of the bank, just 2 yards
from my head.” This description of engagement in battle is so graphic and is repeated format written
during the time of battle.

The Wilfred Owen letter educates us about the atmosphere of War World I. It shows the
dedication of British soldiers that had spent weeks in hardships that they endured for a week in the
trenches, taking cover from the enemy fire. He sent to his mother, Susan, which explains his active
engagement in the battle of War World I. Owens doctor, Arthur Brock, encouraged Owens poetry from
his experiences and Siegfried Sassoon, one of his good friends, was one of Wilfred’s first
publishers during War World I. During this time of war, solider poets wrote more then a thousand

In July of 1918 Owen had returned to active duty in France and proceeded to take Sassoon’s
place on the frontlines. Sassoon was shot in the head and injured during a friendly fire exchange.
In one of the poems before his death, Owen writes about a death of a solider during the war which
was named, “The Dead Beat”:

“He dropped, more sullenly, than wearily,
Became a lump of stench, a clot of meat,
and none of us could kick him to his feet.
He blinked at my revolver, blearily.
He didn't seem to know a war was on,
or see or smell the bloody trench at all…
Perhaps he saw the crowd at Caxton Hall,
and that is why the fellow's pluck's all gone –
Not that the Kaiser frowns imperially.
He sees his wife, how cosily she chats;
not his blue pal there, feeding fifty rats.
Hotels he sees, improved materially.”




The stands always seemed to be full on Friday Night games, at the Wheatland High School football
stadium, where students and teachers all gathered. The small-town of Wheatland, Wyoming is a place
where everybody knows everybody and football is considered life. A rising star from the little town
of Wheatland is Mitch Cozad who was currently the back up punter for University of Northern
Colorado, was arrested for allegedly accused of stabbing his teammate, first-string punter Rafael
Mendoza, in the back of the leg in which the court documents call a jealous attempt to take away
Mendoza's starting job. Mitch Cozad, who has graduated from Wheatland in 2004, was considered
very passionate about kicking and punting in high school, said one of his former teammates, Matt
Carberry. "He's always been different," Carberry stated. "Not stabbing-people
different, but different."

This hasn’t been the first incident, said Cozad’s teammates and coaches. Matt Carberry and others
have said, Cozad once refused to let teammates use his kicking tee after he and the coach got into
an argument. Police reported Mendoza was attacked from behind after returning to his apartment from
study hall. After the attack, the assailant fled, but about 10 minutes later, a store clerk who had
witnessed the attack told police that two men in a car matching the description of the getaway
vehicle stopped, stripped tape off the license plate and drove away.

The license number was matched to Cozad. Mendoza was treated for the puncture wound in his right
thigh and released. He has returned to the team but was stated that he is struggling with flashbacks
of the incident. "It's been tough, and scary," he said. "It's hard for my
family, it's hard for me, it's hard for them wondering what's going to happen. But I
know the authorities are doing their job. They're doing everything they possibly can to let
justice run its course."

A poem from British Literature that I feel best relates to this kind of power struggle is a poem
called “The Man he killed” by Thomas Hardy. The poem states, “I shot him dead because-- Because he
was my foe, just so: my foe of course he was; that’s clear enough; although.” This poem has a close
relationship to the incident between Mitch Cozad and Rafael Mendoza, due to the competition between
the two punters for the starting position, Cozad considered Mendoza his foe. Due to final roster,
Cozad took action into his own hands to get rid of Mendoza but failed.

The judge scheduled the trial for July 30. Mitch Cozad remains free on $500,000 bail. If convicted,
he could face up to 48 years in prison. I personally agree with his punishment if convicted. Cozad
has been kicked off the football team and was suspended from the campus. Mendoza has returned to the
football team had has averaged 39.9 yards on 56 punts.


















The English language, has come a long way, and has rapidly developed into the one of the most spoken
languages in the world. In reality the common saying of, “sticks and stones may break my bones but
words will never hurt me” is known to be a figure of speech or a metaphor. But words can hurt just
as much as sticks and stones do. Many words in the English dictionary can help or hurt a language by
creating stereotypes or different kind of labels. Due to the recent events that have been occurring
around the world today, the common English noun “War”, has frequently shown up in weekly headlines,
top stories of news broadcast, and posted throughout the Internet, can create a sign of discomfort
or horror around the world. No matter what language you are speaking, people will define the word
“war” in similar ways as you do. In all the dictionaries that you come upon, you will find the word
“war” there. I have viewed four English dictionaries to compare and contrast some of the
similarities of the definitions of “war”. In American Heritage Dictionary, it had stated “war”
meant, “A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or
parties.” In the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the word is defined as, “a conflict carried on
by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea,
or air.” In the Etymology Dictionary it is stated, “as a legal state created by a declaration of
war and ended by official declaration during which the international rules of war apply.” And in the
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary, the definition of “war” is, “an armed struggle,
especially between nations.” In the Oxford English Dictionary there are four known definitions for
the word “war”. The first definition states that the word is meant, “to the waging of armed conflict
against an enemy.” The second definition, “A legal state created by a declaration of war and ended
by official declaration during which the international rules of war apply.” The third definition,
“An active struggle between competing entities.” The final definition of the word “war” is, “A
concerted campaign to end something that is injurious.” “War” is a common word that is known to
everyone around the world. It is spoken in every language and has the same basic meaning. In Spanish
the meaning of “war” is Guerra. Mrs. Hereford, who is a Spanish teacher at Catholic Memorial,
claimed that the word “war” could be briefly described as fighting between two nations. Brian
Glasheen, a student at Catholic Memorial described the word no more than, fighting between two
countries. Mr. Finn the Western Civilization teacher at Catholic Memorial has illustrated that the
word “war” means nothing more then fighting between numerous amounts of countries. But to me war
means that the people I know and love are somehow going to be affected by it The world after 9/11
can only think about one of the darkest days in American history. And today the United States is in
the struggle, on the ‘War on Terrorism’ that is currently being fought. The word “War” fulfills the
atmosphere and fear of every country that is involved with this conflict, the ‘War On Terrorism’

Oxford English Dictionary
American Heritage Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
Mr. Finn Personal Interview
Mrs. Hereford Personal Interview
Brian Glasheen Personal Interview