English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  Treasure Chest

It was a cold dark afternoon, and the rain just wouldn't stop. I was extremely bored so
I decided to roam the hall of my apartment building while talking on my cell phone. Just before I
was going to go in my house I saw that the storage room door was open and the light of the room was
flickering. Surprising my individual storage door was left open. Suddenly lightning struck and there
was a flash and I saw an old, black, small chest and the object aroused curiosity in me. When I went
over to it

I saw that inscribed in the side was my grandmother’s maiden name Magruder. I took it out of the
room and back into my house, and I tried to guess what was inside because it was locked.
The next morning was Sunday and knowing my family we were definitely going to church.
At church I saw my grandmother who was singing in the chore, happy as ever. After a long, mentally
strenuous mass, it was time to go. I went back to my grandmother’s house with my family to have our
Sunday dinner. While the old people were reminiscing, drinking, and relaxing, all the kids were
playing "hide and go seek." I was looking around at all the African "stuff" that
my grandmother had. Along with this stuff she had picture of herself. One of these pictures just
stuck out at me because in the background of this man and little girl was the chest I found. I asked
my grandmother about the picture and she said that it was he and her father when she was younger.
When I asked her about the box she looked around and said it is time for you to know your past, come
in my room and listen.

"That box that I know you must have found goes back generations to before slavery
times when our ancestors were still in Africa living in peace. Kunta was his name your great great
great.... grandfather. He lived in Africa and was leader of his tribe. When the Persians came to
“make peace." Kunta knew that they were there for one thing and one thing only,
"treasure." When the Persians found out that there was gold, and diamonds in the Congo
area, they didn't hesitate to attempt to steal these natural riches, "by any mean

Kunta was a wise man he knew that they could not resist the Persians forever because of
their strength. So Kunta decide to put the history and true riches of the tribe and all surrounding
tribes all together in one small chest. These contents were so deep rooted and with powerful meaning
that if any man ever found out what was there were, he would find unbelievable riches and knowledge.
One rainy afternoon lighting struck in Kunta's village and caused a great fire called the
"rain of fire." The "rain of fire" devastated Kunta's village, and he was
forced to move west as the Persians moved in. Some of the tribe member were captured and forced to
work the mines. Kunta kept that chest close at all times and told his direct decadence that it
represented the good, riches, and culture of their people but hidden from the pain, slavery, and

Kunta's descendants were slaves who were shipped to the America's but they
somehow held on to the chest. My grandmother said that they key it back in Africa with the left
behind people. These people my distant families are some of the children of the blood diamonds,
because of all the blood shed to get the diamonds and gold. Kunta's was maybe the only person
who knew what were the electrifying secrets in the chest were. To my knowledge we will never know
maybe it is Gold, diamonds, knowledge or maybe it is empty. But it doesn't matter as the family
saying goes "treasure is some what’s you wish to forever keep even if you lose it."

  There is a "Black Forest" near my town. It is dark at night, and higher than
everythingelse. When looking from a far away distance, even during the day it looks dark. Although
it is not black in the winter, when it's slopes are covered with snow. There is a small
partwhere people visit, but in the depth of the forest, "it is probally the least visited
natural setting." It is not just a forest, it is also a mountain.

It is exceptional weather for a December night. No sight of snow yet. It feels as winter had passed
and spring is now arriving. The "Black Forest" is black as usual from the bottom it looks
like a hill of black trees. There is no sight of animals anywhere. But there is a constant noise of
sticks being broken all over. The trees are still as if they are in shock, and the wind is silent.
The rocky hills are filled with loose stones. There are old broken leaves all over the ground. The
air smells fresh, and is cool. It is quiet as I sit to write. I can feel the beauty of the nature
even though it is dark, my senses are aware of it. We as men must find this beauty in ourselves even
if we cannot see it, it is there.

Darkness, and cold chills are surrounding the mountain. It is easier to see becausemany of the
trees are cleared, with a naked and skinny look. There is a fox running about as if he is lost.
There is a large rock by itself with no other rocks it size. The wind in not quiet today, but it is
not shouting. Blowing around dead leaves, plants, and dirt, the wind the coroner of the "Black
Forest." But there is another large rock a few steps away, the fox has stopped running, and the
plants and the leaves have left for more to grow when spring comes. Soon snow will cover all of
this, but nature is not destroyed or forgotten. As men we must realize that if we feel alone or left

behind, there is still always there is the same situation, who knows your pain. And even if we are
lost in society there's always a chance to wipe off the snow, and turn back to the true point
of life, which is to live free from any restictions of society, and forget the status quo.

Black, with a cold chill the forest is. The moon shines bright a third of its whole, or maybeit is
because of the clouds blanketing the sky. It is the clouds shadowing a forth of the moon! But
somehow the light still finds away to brighten up the "Black Forest" and glow on the tips
of the trees. Tonight the noise of the forest is alive. The leaves rustle, the wind is howling,
sticksbreaking, and various bugs calling out to each other. Suddenly I am startled by the sound of a
wolf's cry in the distance. He must be separated from the pack, maybe the same wolf i heard the
other night still lost and not yet reunited with his family. But he does have the bright light from
the moon to lighten up his dark, lonely path, and guide his way. Any man who is lost in this world
when all else fails, has the moon, and all other aspects of nature to guide his way. Just as the
slaves "followed the drinking gourd" to escape to freedom. But it is not just the moon
itself it is our direction given to us by God that persuades us to choose our own paths.

Dark as usually, the chilly hills of the forest seem to stick out into the sky. As I approach it
looks as if there are animals but those are just rocks, stones of all sizes and shapes. The trees
stand tall even though there leaves are dead. Some of the trees are broken, some have fallen and
some of them show years of taking a beating from nature's friendly yet ferocious fists. How
canthey stand? is it the roots that choose what trees stand and what trees fall. Just as life
chooses which men shall lay their own path, and which men shall crack and do as society demands. You
can never truely find your roots, but you can stand tall and leave a memory for future generations
to branch off.

Branch off and push your seeds into the light, and let time reveal there beauty. This time I visit
the forest it is light. The sun is not to bright, but it is revealing. It is still pretty warm out
for mid December. The sky had some scattered clouds. The mountain is not an empty place. There are
still birds even this late in winter. The scattered rocks on the ground all seem to have been maybe
hundreds of years ago, parts of the two larger rocks. The air smells of pine, but not a strong
smell. Leaves plow in the humming wind, and there is life underneath. From the top of the mountain
it seems that this whole community works as one. This experiance is the greatest yet, and the most
helpful to my philosophies on life. I see now that something may look black, and dead but there is
always life shinning bighter than you can believe. So if ever you are losing hope, of yourself or
dying society, remember, there is a light out there. We must start with changing oursleves and our
children. When you plant seeds of your own pull out the weeds, and have faith for good to come.
















While America as a country was rapidly industrializing after the civil war. Emily Dickinson was at
her house in Amherst, Mass unknowingly writting some of the greatest poems in American liturature.
Only publishing seven poems while she was alive, and unlike any other great poet of her time, she
wanted to remain as the greatest literary secret of America. Her plans to remain unknown failed.
Unlike no other poem of it's time Emily Dickinsons "To Know just how he suffered would be
dear" portrays a character, death, and morality, all as unique and creative themes.

Emily Dickinson's is her own character in this poem. Emily Dickinson never actually says that
the "he" in her poem is herself, but that is what she infers. No other piece of American
liturature at this time, attempted to take the perspective of a person wondering how one feels
before death. The poem creatively poses the question of "how will I feel when I die." She
asks if she will be "patient, part content, afraid or tranquil." Also she wonders if
anyone will be there when she dies. It is fair to say that Emily Dickinson lived a lonely and
isolated life. "To Know if any human eyes were near, To whom could he trust his wavering
gaze," verifies her thoughts, and perhaps fears of dying lonely.

Another unique theme that Emily Dickinson portrays in "To Know just how he suffered would be
dear" is death, and the events leading up to death. To Know just how he suffered" right
before his death is what she is really saying. Also she says that death is the entrence into an
"eternal, paridise", also "ill fluttered out everlasting well." The significance
of death is great in the last line of the poem, where the theme is stressed by punctuation.
"Meet-- and the junction of Eternity." This is the line where Emily Dickinson cleaverly
capitalized the E to stress the word Eternity, and this is the only instance in this poem where her
famous dash appears.

Morality is also a major theme in this poem that is expressed in a unique way. The simple fact of
wondering thoughtfully and carefully about someones feelings during their deaths is such a unique
way of thinking. Also the line "What was his furthest mind, of home, of God, Or what the
distant say." Emily Dickinson is asking in the last moments of life, what is most important to
the character. What others think, what he will be leaving behind, or of God, that peacefully awaits
him in heaven. She questions the moral thought process of a person in there last stages of life.
Unlike no other poem of hers or it's time, Emily Dickinson's "To Know just how he
suffered would be dear," is portraying a character, morals, and death in unique ways. Emily
Dickinson died in 1886, and the most mind blowing effect of this poem is now that she is gone, to
know just how she suffered would be dear.
















*Fishing is one of the most internationally known and played sports. All around the world people
from small children to the retired and elderly play, for amusement, and many compete. There are
various types out fishing some which have been demonstrated in ancient times. In the Northeast of
the United States lakes, pond, and small river fishing is the most common. Geographically America is
not the greatest fishing spot in the world, but fishing in America offers something different.
Fishing represents a certain American attitude, and way of life. Also fishing is a major theme seen
in various works of American literature. Lastly manifest destiny which is based on a competition for
space is present in fishing, as it is in American.
*There would be no big trout in the shallows of this time of day." This line from Ernest
Hemingway's "Big Two Hearted River" almost entirely grasps the significance and
representation of fishing in America. Americans are usually eager, and many are greedy people, who
don't wish to waste time on the small unimportant fish. So many people want to be the big fish
in the pond. Later the main character Nick says "By God, he was the biggest one I ever heard
of." After personifying an extremely large fish that escaped from Nick while fishing, he thinks
about the amazing size of the fish. This represents an American mind state, or feeling when losing
something the value seems so much greater, only because it is gone. Also instead of saying the
biggest one I ever saw, Nick, says "the biggest one I ever heard of." This simple line
represents the importance of word of mouth in America. Weather it is with gossip, news, or new
ideas, word of mouth is constantly used to spread American knowledge, and beliefs. Many people argue
and believe that Huckleberry Finn is the greatest novel in American literature, and fishing is
proved to be a main theme used by author Mark Twain in Huck Finn. Twain greatly capture the idea d
laziness, or a surplus of relaxation with in American, in lines such as "It was kind of lazy
and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study." This
line from Twain's famous main character Huck shows that American at the time would rather relax
than learn, as it is now.
*My personal experiences with fishing have proved that fishing is about relaxation and getting in
touch with nature, as many Americans do with hiking or going camping. I sincerely feel that fishing
in America is about space. Water occupies about two thirds of our world and that is where people
fish. In American now and in our past, life’s always been about expansion, mostly with land. But the
best land is found near places with a surplus of water. I have seen people who go out far on boats
fishing and coverage as much area as possible. Also I have seen and read about the true story about
the Massachusetts men who set out to fish for their living, for the love and for their families.
Their story represents how fishing is such a great industry that men and women risk their lives and
they lost their lives in the movie "The Perfect Storm." Also although many of the people
I’ve witnessed fishing or fished with, were fishing for fun, there is always a slight competitive
drive, that can be seen with anything Americans are involved in, who can catch the most, and who can
catch the biggest fish. Fishing in my opinion is American for all of these reasons and because when
people fish although they are catching a fish which may seem contradictory to that fact that many
Americans feel free and relaxed while fishing. Freedom is one of the greatest American literature
themes, because it makes America itself, wars and whole generation movements have been based on
freedom in America. Our country in the land of the free so it is only right that it be the waters of
the free also, and fishing helps many appreciate and feel free.
*Freedom is the last thing on minds of the many who criticize fishing as a sport and as a
recreational activity. Catholic Memorial Chris Rooney feels that "fishing is a fat lazy sport
that takes no atheism. In more of a biological factual article fishing is said to be the cause of
"The depths of destruction." At Subic Bay, in the Philippines, marine biologists say that
the "dynamite fishing" is the cause of the world’s most extensive coral reefs to be on the
verge of collapsing. These are coral reefs that serve as important ecosystems for fish and some of
the reefs can be used as medicine, some even used in Azt, which is a treatment for aids. Dynamite or
blast fishing is "the practice of using dynamite or other explosives to stun or kill schools of
fish for easy collection. The former US naval base in the Philippines is one of the worst places in
the world suffering from dynamite fishing. Also in other news "critic warn about open-ocean
aquaculture." In 2002 600,000 "ocean farmed salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean escaped
from their cages into the wild" after a storm in the Faroe Islands. Because all of the fish
could not be rounded up, they bred with the salmon population, and critics of OOA (open-ocean
agriculture) are "worried about the effects of intermixing wild and farmed fish, as well as a
host of other environmental and socio-economic concerns associated with the practice." Critics
also say that "biological and environmental pollution, habitat destruction, the depletion of
other fish, adverse human health effects and the undermining of local fishing communities are all
problems that can result from allowing this fishing to continue. Although it is not the farmers
intent to allow fish to escape its does happen as it did in Britain, "We’re very concerned that
aquaculture off US shores will look very similar to fish farming in other countries, which has been
an unmitigated disaster," says Zack Corrigan, who is staff attorney for food and water watch.
Dom Repta adds "First we were told they would never escape then we were told they would never
survive. Then we were told that they would never spawn. And they’ve actually done all of those
things." Critics say that a large-scale OOA industry might contaminate the water, as well as
destroy the seabed and affect wild fish habitats. Also "Pollution from aquaculture includes
antibiotics, parasite-killing pesticides, hormones, anesthetics and pigments." Critics mainly
focus on the negatives that certain types of fishing cause but not fishing as a whole sport.
*As amateur American fisher, Allen Currelley Sr. says that "fishing does represent an American
way, but not necessarily in a negative way. Many critics of fishing argue that the sport takes no
real athleticism or strength. But when you’re railing in a seventy-five to one hundred pound fish,
it takes skill concentration, and defiantly strength." Allen who was born in Jacksonville
Florida but grew up mainly in Boston had many interesting comments to make about fishing. "The
way I grew up fishing was at ponds, and small rivers, in which I have son of my fondest but some of
my worst memories also. Only because one of my cousins drown in a familiar pond where we always went
fishing, and which I still often fish at. On a brighter side it is true fishing represent how we as
Americans like to take some time off from the world to spend time with family, friends of even
alone, and sit back and relax with a rod.
*For the professional fisherman Ronald Martin the rod is more of a competitive tool than a
relaxation device. Martin has his own television show and is a well known American pro fisherman.
"In fishing you need virtues such as, patience, concentration, and knowledge of your bait and
the, waters your fishing." Also Martin says that "American fishing is similar to fishing
in other places, but how the people view fishing is different. Most people I know love fishing, and
love the competition, which makes America so great, the constant competition."
*Although fishing does not capture and define parts of every Americans life, I feel that it is safe
to say that a great population of Americans fish or will go fishing in their lifetime. Also when
they fish they will feel free and relaxed. Many critics of American society claim that Americans are
becoming more and more lazy every year, and becoming hooked on more material things. There is a thin
line between laziness and enjoying freedom and relaxing, and fishing will always represent American
attitude, independence, competitive hearts, and freedom.

Works Cited
Hemingway, Ernest. Big Two Hearted River. 1924.

Currelley, Allen Sr. Perosnal interview, May 10, 2007.

Rooney, Chris. Perosnal interview, May 10, 2007.

Ronald Martin Productions. “Fishing with Ronald Martin.” 2001-2005. G & W
Enterprises. May 20, 2007.

Megan Tady. “Critics Warn About Open-Ocean Aquaculture; Gov’t Plots Ahead.” The News Standard. April
27, 2007. Non-profit publisher. April 28, 2007.

Glen Martin (Chronicle Environment Writer). “The Depths of Destruction.” San Francisco Chronicle.
Thursday, May 30, 2002. Hearst Communications Inc.

Will Carroll. “American Literature Web Resources: Ernest Hemingway.”
American Literature Web Resources. Millikin University. 2001