English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  Dear Mr. McCoy,
Your work interested me and my school and I, Justin McCann, would like to ask you if you would come
to my school, Catholic Memorial to talk about your life as a jockey and an author. It must be pretty
fun racing horses for a living. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t ridden a horse in my life but, I
bet I would like it. So, I would be delighted if you would come and maybe read a couple of chapters
from your book McCoy: The Autobiography and maybe talk a little about your life.

As a sports fanatic I thought it would be interesting to write to an author who is also a jockey.
That must have been really the only thing you could do because you lived in a small town, like your
hometown Moneyglass in Northern Ireland, and near a lot of a horses. It is amazing how many times
you have been a champion jockey and how you have even broken a couple of records. It’s kind of
different here with not a lot of horse racing and a whole lot of football and baseball but it would
be interesting and informative to learn about horse racing.

Your autobiography seems like it would inspire any person to take up horse riding. It’s amazing how
you have come to be a champion horse racer. It must have been tough to get to be who you are now.
You must have beat all the odds and proved everyone wrong when you did that. What’s more amazing is
that you did it while you missed school regularly and just lived out the dream.

I picked a little quote out of your book that I liked because this quote just drew me in. “I missed
school regularly but my passion for horses just made everything else look pointless.” That quote was
amazing and just got a feel of how dedicated you were to horses. So, I would just like you to read a
couple of chapters from your book to give not just me, but my class, a reaction to your book and no
one could tell your life better than you. Plus, it would be easier for you to tell it and not anyone

I hope you come to my school but, if you don’t that’s okay because I know you must be very busy and
I would really appreciate it if you came to my school. So, I wish you the best of luck and I hope to
see you soon.

Justin McCann







John Keats was born in London into the working class. He was a poet who wrote many letters and he
wrote this particular letter on October 25, 1818 to his brother George and his sister Georgiana
Keats. He wrote to them pretty often to update them on everything that happened with him. Mainly,
this letter is about catching up on everything with his brothers and sisters because he didn’t have
a chance to get back to them because they didn’t want anyone contacting them at the time. I thought
this letter was interesting because he wrote it on his birthday. This letter reveals that at the
time, his brother and sister didn’t want anyone to write because his other brother Tom Keats was
very ill from tuberculosis.

This letter was written in the Romantic Period. He wrote this letter while he was at the pinnacle of
his career. On this day he had turned 23 years old. He had already gone through a lot leading up to
this point. In 1804 his father fell off a horse, fractured his skull and died. In 1810 his mother
died because she had tuberculosis which left him and his three siblings to stay with their
grandmother. During the time he had wrote this letter Mary Shelley had written the book Frankenstein
a few months back. He had friends that were writers such as Lord Byron and Percy Shelley.

The main purpose of this letter is that John Keats was trying to contact his brother and sister
about what was going on with them and what was going on with his other brother Tom Keats. This line
shows that he was trying to contact them but he couldn’t because they didn’t want anyone to contact
them. “I am grieved to say that I am not sorry you had not letters at Philadelphia; you could have
had no good news of Tom and I have been withheld on his account from beginning these many days; I
could not bring myself to say the truth, that he is no better but much worse—However it must be told
and you must my dear brother and sister take example from me and bear up against any calamity for my
sake as I do for your’s.”

This letter was written a month before Tom died from tuberculosis. He wrote this letter to find out
about the condition of Tom. This quote shows that he was trying to find out about Tom’s health.
“There was a part in your letter which gave me a great deal of pain, that where you lament not
receiving letters from England—I intended to have written immediately on my return from Scotland
(which was two months earlier than I had intended on account of my own as well as Tom’s health).” I
think that he might have known that he was going to die soon because his mother had tuberculosis and
died from it.

John Keats really took all of his emotion and put them into his poems. The death of his brother made
him write poems that were very famous because they were full of sadness and depression. John Keats
wrote many famous works such as Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn. He also composed Robin
Hood. This is a quote from Ode to a Nightingale which I think explains his mourning of his brother,
“My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains. My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, or emptied
some dull opiate to the drains.” This quote shows how much emotion he showed towards his brother. In
Ode on a Grecian Urn it shows his sadness at the beginning. This is the quote saying, “Thou still
unravish’d bride of quietness, thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who
canst thus express a flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme.” He truly mourned his brother’s









Saddam Hussein of Iraq is considered to be one of the worst dictators of the last two decades. He
and several other defendents were being charged for war crimes for killing 148 inhabitants in a 1982
massacre in the Shiite town of Dujail in Iraq. Saddam ordered their murders in retaliation for a
failed assassination attempt. He and several other have been convicted and Saddam was sentenced to
death by hanging and was hanged on December 30, 2006. This crime was motivated by power because he
tried to stay in power by supressing his people.

After Saddam was convicted he had some harsh words to say such as "Damn you and your
court.""You are the enemies against humanity" and "Long live the people and
death to their enemies." Some supporters of Saddam, which included the people of his hometown
of Tikrit chanted, "Saddam we will give our blood for you."

Although Saddam was the main suspect and it is proven that he did these crimes, he did
have some help to kill all of those people. There was seven other people besides him who were being
accused of these crimes. Saddam, of course, had an entire army to do his dirty work and seven people
plus him, most likely, could not have killed 148 people alone so there are many possible culprits
who could have commited these crimes.

In some cases you could compare Saddam killing his people with The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Macbeth killed King Duncan to come into power in what you would call a mini coup. Saddam was a main
figure in a 1968 coup in which soonafter he came into power 11 years later. After Macbeth killed
Duncan he went on a killing spree killing some of his old friends such as Banquo and anyone else who
was suspicious of him and was eventually killed by his people. Saddam, when he came into power,
started killing his people to stay in power and was eventually hanged by his people.

I do not think many people would approve of what Saddam did because I know I did not. It
it hard to believe in someone who has killed 148 people. I think what they did was right in killing
him because there would have been a possibility that he could have come back into power if he was
imprisoned. After a while many people in Iraq started disliking Saddam because he was not such a
good leader. I would not want to live in a country with a corrupt leader either. Saddam was
deserving of his death and put to rest an age of bad leadership in Iraq.



















Language has been with us for so long that we do not know when it started and helps people and
animals communicate with each other. English is just one of those languages which is the top
language now but we don’t know how long that will last or which language will be the next one to be
on top. Equality is just one of those words that are jammed into our language called English. Like
any other word it has a definition to give it a purpose in the English language. English is a
language that is about 1500 years old which is 900 years older than the word that I am talking
about, equality. Equality was first used in English in the year 1400 and is still pungent today. I
think the word equality is helpful to human progress because it looks the same in every language so
everyone knows what the word is and you don’t really need to teach to anyone who speaks another
language because they will know what you are talking about and it provides a word to fit a meaning.

Equality is defined similarly but not exactly the same in different dictionaries. In The American
Heritage Dictionary defines equality as the state or quality of being equal; A mathematical
statement, usually an equation, that one thing equals another. Webster’s New Pocket Dictionary
defines equality as a person of a thing that is equal. Princeton WordNet defines equality as the
quality of being same in quantity or measure or value or status; a state of being essentially equal
or equivalent; equally balanced. The word equality has Latin roots and the word in Latin is
aequalitas and came later into the French language then the English language as equalite. As you can
see the word equality has not really changed that much between languages and has not really changed
over time.

The Oxford English Dictionary or OED is a very complex dictionary that fully defines every word in
the English language. A few definitions from the OED are: “the condition of being equal in quantity,
amount, value, intensity, etc.”; “the exact correspondence between magnitudes and numbers in respect
of quantity, the existence of which is sometimes expressed by the sign =”; “the condition of having
equal dignity, rank, or privileges with others; the fact of being on equal footing”. The OED
definitions are mostly the same as the other dictionaries so it is obviously easy to learn because
it does not have a lot of meanings which is one way it helps human progress.

People do not use the word equality differently than a lot of other people. Most people I talked to
have used it the same as other people I talked to have used it. I talked to Killian Page and he used
it in this way, “There should be equality amongst all races.” Matthew Ferrick used it in this way,
“Equality was an issue in America and around the world for a very long time.” Andrew Thorn used it
in this way, “The United States is a better picture of equality then it was before.” As you can see
people do not really use it differently from the next person so it is very easy to learn.

There are also a lot of famous authors who have used the word equality. Such an author is William
Shakespeare who use equality in this way in 1595, “The on-set and retyre Of both your Armies, whose
equality By our best eyes cannot be censured.” Another famous author, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, used
it this way in 1817, “The confidence of his own equality with those whom he deemed most worthy of
his praise.” In 1846, John Stuart Mill used equality in this way, “Equality; which is but another
word for the exact resemblance commonly called identity, considered as subsisting between things in
respect of their quantity.” Famous authors mainly use it the same as people today and each other so
it has not changed over time and is not too hard to learn.

I also interviewed some foreign language speakers too see how hard this word was to learn for them.
I talked to Julio Baez and he said that the word equality was not that hard to learn and used it
this way, “There is equality amongst Catholic Memorial students.” Ryan Pai said it was not very hard
to learn and used it like this, “There is equality among us today.” CM teacher Ms. Lockwood said it
was not too hard to learn and used it like this, “Equality differs in every place you go.” Foreign
language speakers do not use the word differently from anybody else and is easy to learn for

Words are used in new ways everyday but, the word equality has not been used in a new way for
almost 600 years. This word is so hard to use in a new way and if you did use it in a new way the
word really would not fit the meaning because you can only use it certain ways. I had to have looked
at thousands of newspaper articles and other articles and I could not find a new use of the word
equality. This just shows that equality is an easy word to learn because it only has a couple of

Like I have said before the word equality has Latin roots. The Latin word for equality is
aequalitas which look a lot like the current English word equality. And in French the word is
égalité and in new Latin the word is aequitas. It is obvious that this word does not really change
from language to language and from time to time and that is why this word helps human progress.