English 10: Writing Portfolio

 

Catholic Memorial High School

 

2006-2007

   
   
   
   
   
Research  
   
Creative Writing  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  When I first saw it I didn't think much of it because all it was was a jewelry box. It had no
meaning to me at all. It wasn't in my room it wasn't mine. I didn't wear jewelry.
But never once did I consider it had much more meaning than just being a box, a jewelry box.

I think it all goes back to the origin. The box was dated 1618. Made in Nassau, Bahamas. I
didn't know much about the 1600's but that it was really the age of exploration especially
the sea and new worlds. When I started thinking about this and brainstorming I realized that their
was a picture on the bottom of a ship and a skull. Immediately my mind started racing and I knew
their was a story to this box just I couldn't find out how to uncover it.
The next night a man wearing old shaggy clothes came up to my door. My first reaction was fear
because there was a creepy man standing at my door in the middle of the night. The man was looking
for the jewelry box. I was confused when he asked me for it, but I wanted to know more about him
and if he knew about the jewelry box.


His name was Rafael Sinez and he was eighty years old. He said he was a captain in the Spanish
navy and he needed the box. Rafael asked if he we could sit down and talk He started then started
talking about how he had been a Captain in the Navy for 17 years. He said he grew up in Spain and
when he was 16 years old joined the navy. He said the year was 1656. This caught me off guard and
I told him it was 2006 he said he knew. He had come back for one thing, the box. He said it was
his and he wanted it back then he told me the story of it. He had gotten the box in the Bahamas.
He said he had stolen the box from Captain Barboza, a pirate in the Caribbean area. The captain was
pleased when he got the box from Barboza because he had been hunting Barboza for 4 years until he
caught him down off of the coast of what is now Cuba. But this is where I learned everything about
the box.


The box held Barbozas most valuable jewels and the key to the treasure chest at Ella de Lamadia, of
the coast of western Africa. Once Rafael recovered the box and opened it he saw the map in the box
and wanted the treasure…but so did Barboza. Rafael knew that if he got the treasure he would be a
legend in Spain, and be known as the greatest captain in the world. Once Barboza realized the box
was gone he immediately raced for the island knowing that whoever got the jewelry box would go
straight for the treasure.


Rafael and his men landed one day before Barboza did at the island. The trip from Cuba to Ella de
Lamadia lasted 48 days and during those days Rafael planned his attack to capture anyone on the
island get the treasure and get out because he did not know if anyone had followed him. He was
going to sail to the backside of the island and take the treasure, and sail up the west coast of
Africa. Barboza had also planned to go to the back of the island to sneak up on whoever was going
to retrieve his treasure.


The ensuing battle lasted for 4 hours and the jewelry box went back and forth back and forth.
Finally, Barboza got his men and the box onto his ship and sailed away. When Rafael caught up his
ship blasted Barbozas and the box went overboard to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean never to be
seen by either of the captains. So I asked Rafael the purpose of him wanting it now and he simply
replied “You wouldn’t understand…theirs another world out their Christopher” and with that I
remembered my mom got the Jewelry box in the Bahamas on her honey moon at a souvenir shop and Rafael wanted it back because after all….their is a whole other world out there.

   
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  As I look I see that Kerriscadia has morning dew across the grass today from the harsh cold night
that we had last night. The weather is beginning to take a toll on the ground as the leaves are
frozen solid together so there is no sound except the early, cold wind, which would freeze inside
your nose but had the pleasant smell of fresh air. The animals were all gone, hiding away from what
the winter is going to bring. The grass is still green and the flowers are still there, except they
were not budding and had no pedals on them. Everything is dying. Everything is running from nature
like we run from our problems. Nobody knows what each others problems are because people won’t let
friends or family help because they think that they can do it themselves. But does nature do this?
Or does she welcome the sun’s help in the spring time and does she not welcome the wind on a hot
day, or snow for the kids to play. But isn’t this like us? Hiding away from what we fear instead of
stepping right up into it and taking it head on.


When you see things in nature you see them in groups. I look back on this cold and sunny day
and I hear the leaves rustling together and you see the squirrels climbing a tree together. I taste
the cold fresh air and feel the chills on my neck. I see that the sun has only enough energy to
illuminate a few of the trees. But I wonder to things in nature have friends. I walk closer to
Kerriscadia to touch the leaves and feel them crinkle under my fingertips and feel the cold wet
ground, asleep for the winter. But I again wonder if the ground is a friend to the animals, or even
a home during the winter. Then I think of the two squirrels and I ask if they are friends. Then I
think about my friends and how some people’s best friend is money. And how some people pretend that
they are your only to use you for something out of their power. These people blow their money on
everything and having money makes them feel good. Nature is everybody’s friend but everyone neglects
it. But in this world the last thing we need is for money to be running us.


The weather reflects my mood to the exact feeling. The cold air blows against my face
but I don’t feel it. The wind blows hard, but it doesn’t bother me. It feels like my heart is
frozen over and ice runs through my veins. The rain trickles down my face and my arms, but I don’t
mind it. For some reason I am out of it, nothing warm inside, no sun to light me up. The ground is
wet, because it relies on the sun. I don’t know what to feel, because I relied on someone. We all
know the only person that you can trust is you, the only person that can hurt you is you. I
opened up and let someone in, and went against everything I ever told myself. For not relying on
myself, I hurt myself, like nature.


As I sit and ponder about what I have felt that day, I notice what is happening to nature. I notice
that the air is cold, and that it feels good running through my nose and throat, almost as if I can
taste it. I see the same leaves that were their yesterday and some are reflected by the last ray of
the sun. As I look off I see the darkness of night approaching, I wonder about my day and what I
felt. I think about the sun and the darkness. And how they are two totally different things but they
are more than essential to life. The sun is a warm and it can really make a person’ day better, and
the darkness is a quiet and comforting feeling to most people, a lot like a human can be. The leaves
I see will never feel what it is like to have a friend, but are always warmed by the sun, like a
human can be. Maybe people don’t realize how much other people mean to them until they are hurt.
Would those leaves even be there if it wasn’t for the sun? They would not survive in the darkness.
Maybe some people take others for granted and use them for everything they can to get their mind off
of something else. Would we see the stars without the darkness? Would we see the leaves if their
wasn’t any sun? Would we be who we are if it wasn’t for other people teaching us about life?
Today I sit and think about everything. I notice that the air is as warm as it was the
first day, but that the day is shorter. The sun does not seem to stay out as long as it used to do,
but this just means the moon shines longer right? There are no more animals; no more squirrels the
leaves are still there, still making the same rustling noise. The dirt is dark and cold, it seems
like nothing has changed. But can we see what’s going on underneath everything? No. So we do not
know if the ground is asleep, if nature is done for now. Isn’t that like us? We sit and ponder
everything that has gone on, and with our own human ability we pretend that nothing could affect us.
Neither loss, nor the cold of the winter could ever hurt us. Because isn’t that what we do? Put
our personality on the outside, and kill on the inside. Doesn’t nature get dressed up and look
perfect in the spring, but hurt inside from the winter. It is nature and nature can’t hurt nature.
The flowers will always blossom, the trees will always grow. But inside, down under, do we know
what nature is feeling. No, because to understand nature we have to understand ourselves. Nature
and humans work totally differently so we can only learn from on another and not assume from one
another. But like nature who is going to care for what you feel inside.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  Stephen Crane has a great gift of giving grave detail into what he brings with his story. Although
he only lived 29 years, he still managed to publish over 20 short stories and 3 novels. He was born
in 1871 and died in 1900, but wrote of the grave horrors and reality of the Civil War. The way he
writes make you really feel how strong a bond is between a group of people, whether soldiers
fighting a war, or sailors in a ship wreck.

The subject of Stephen Cranes books are never far from the title. In books such as The Red
Badge of Courage, we see the profile of some of the men that fought in the Civil War and what they
did for one another. For a man who never served in he army, or had a large family, he enjoys
writing about brotherhood and what it means.

In, The Red Badge of Courage, Crane doesn’t use much dialogue because the young boy that is
running from the enemy has nobody to talk to but himself. The dialogue Crane uses resembles what
most people would call modern. He uses short fragments in places of sentences for instance, "No
water here," in reference for the boy talking to another comrade of his when they were in the
woods looking for water. The dialogue is good for the people he was writing to. Although they hadn’t
hit the period labeled as “modern”, people were surely starting to speak differently.

The character portrayals in Cranes books are pretty evident, like the plots, with the title of
the book. In The Red Badge of Courage the main character is a soldier and with the time period he
writes in you can see that the war this soldier is fighting in is the Civil War which was fought in
the 1860’s. In The Open Boat, you can sense the story has to do with sailors and that is exactly
who are in the story such as the Captain, Oiler, and Correspondent. Also in another short story of
his, The Little Regiment, he writes of more soldiers. For a man who never served in the army, or had
a large family, he enjoys writing about brotherhood and what it means.

Stephen Cranes use of the military is very evident in most of his short stories and novels. He
uses them to get across the brotherhood aspect of all of his stories. In The Red Badge of Courage he
uses the two sides to show what each other will do for the other. In The Open Boat he shows that
these ordinary sailors, not in the Navy, will help each other survive. In smaller less known stories
of his such as The Lost Regiment he speaks of a regiment of men who had been lost for an extensive
period of time but grow closer together through all of the combat that they have to face and what
living conditions they go through and in the Red Badge of Courage it shows just the same the bond
that these soldiers all make together.

Although Stephen Crane did not live to what he should have, he was truly one of Americas
greatest novelist. He can use such things as the military and brotherhood in stories better than
anyone else of his time. He is a great American author that speaks of his time and the real
beginning of modern America after the Civil War.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennis and its roots can be traced back to almost 1500 B.C. with the invention of games played with
a spherical ball introduced by the ancient Egyptians. Christian Monks became interested in the
religious rites of the Moors and were the first Europeans to play the ball game that was to become
tennis. The earliest version of the game was called 'La Soule' where players would hit a
ball to each other using either their hands or a stick. The game tennis has its origin in France
and became popular fast, where it became Royalty. The word “Tennis” means “Play!” in French because
before a match started players would yell “tenez” which in French means “play”. The game was
originally played indoors in large open galleries where a player would score points on how fast he
hit the ball after it came off the wall. The player must keep the ball in between the lines
surrounding the court and the ball cannot hit the net, if so, he receives a fault and is given one
more opportunity to serve, if he hits the net again the opponent is given a point for his second
fault. What is so American about this sport? Maybe it is the way that the players get a second
chance, a lot like America, the land of second chances.


To many the game of tennis is extremely boring. Other than the balls flying across court at over
100 mph and the beautiful girls that play there is nothing that will excite Americans like football
does. Tennis isn’t even American, we hardly hold any real tournaments or matches, and the majority
of players are European. I personally turn the channel if I see an event on the television, and the
matches aren’t as publicized as say a football game or a baseball match up between two mediocre
teams. The match ups are normally over seas, this means that most of the time they never reach our
Television stations and they only make it if there is an American such as Andy Roddick or the sister
phenomenon’s, Venus and Serena Williams.


Some of the most famous names of the game include the likes of Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, Serena
and Venus Williams, Andre Aggasi, Rafael Nadal, and James Blake. Some of these players may be more
well known in other countries because it is not as popular here, but some of these names are world
renown. Andre Aggasi may be one of the greatest players of all time and is a sure in to the World
Tennis Hall of Fame. Aggasi is Americas greatest player and was born here after his father, an
Olympic boxing champion for Iran, moved here in 1952.


Liam Concannon, an amateur player of the sport of tennis since the age of 8, says “Americans are
good at this sport because of their amount of dedication and abundant amount of trainers for the
game. They have some of the best facilities and coaches in the world” according to Liam, the game
is an easy game for people who haven’t been playing long to pick up and fully grasp. He also says
that there are high school, college, The Boston Lobsters a professional team, and the USTA tennis
team, all competing in Boston and Massachusetts.


I surveyed 10 people about the sport of tennis and got mixed reviews. Bill Galvin, a 60 year old
born in Massachusetts, says the sport of tennis “Doesn’t compare to Football in America but is big
in Europe”. AJ Currelley says that “The Williams sisters are nasty they are the best American
players”. Marc Bunszell also born in Massachusetts says “Tennis is really pointless I like watching
people hit balls at each other at 100mph but only for a few minutes”. Eight out of a possible 10
found the sport to be boring and if asked if they would watch it on TV 8 said no and 2 said maybe.
But when I asked what makes this sport so American I got mixed reviews: Currelley said “Maybe the
way the Americans dominate the game and yes you can get a second chance” and Bill Galvin said that
“No their should be no second chances and the reason Americans are good is we have good coaches and
facilities”.


Tennis is a real sore subject in literature but you know someone had to write about it. Their have
been 2 poems written by American authors about Tennis and both focus on tennis as the lone subject.
One very interesting poem by John Ashberry, is called the “Tennis Court Oath”. The poem is really a
recollection of his memories of spring time, but enjoying the game of tennis and describing it in
his own words. Also in “The Great Gatsby”, Chapter 9, there is a conversation after the death of
Gatsby between Nick, and Mr. Klipspringer. The conversation was about a pair of Mr. Klipspringer
shoes, tennis shoes, that he had asked Nick to return to him but Nick hung up before he could go on any further.
 

A professional interview of Andre Aggasi finds the pro saying “I feel that every international
match I play, against any player from another country, is me representing the U.S. in the game of
tennis”. Serena and Venus feel the same way. They feel that any tournament that you play in inside
the U.S. is important because it is your home and you want to win for your people.
One of the most prolific writers of Tennis is Americas own Greg Garber. Garber is an American born
who is not so much a critic, as just a great reporter of the sport of tennis. He works for ESPN and
travels a lot during the tennis season to cover major events such as the French Open, and
Wimbledon.
 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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