English 10: Writing Portfolio

 

Catholic Memorial High School

 

2006-2007

   
   
   
   
   
Research  
   
Creative Writing  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  An Unordinary Object

As I walked down into my basement and looked around for a few minutes I come to see that I have
found in the corner, a very old and mysterious sign. I first looked at it and then I went to work,
first was to get the cobwebs and mounds of dust off, and as I was doing this, the sign that I have
found must have been very ancient. I said to myself, “this must be very old and used for something
in particular.” I looked at it in depth again and it read something that I could no really make out,
“No Iish Nd Aply”, I stood there and thought for a few seconds, and something came into my head
after seeing the word “Iish”, maybe Irish, and that could be true seeing that my grandmother and
grandfather are both 100% Irish. But that would not make sense “No Irish Nd Aply”, so I decided to
ask my grandmother, Claire Contos, a few questions about the sign and its contents.
I walked into my grandmother’s house and held up the sign, and she looked at me very strangely,
like “what in God’s name are you doing.” So, I said “Nana, do you know anything about this,” my nana
said, “Yes; I do know that sign very well.” I said “what is it and why was it down in the
basement?”, she went on for a few seconds about what it was and finally got to the real story,
Claire told me it was an old sign used to show that the stores that had it did not want men and
women with an Irish heritage to work there, during the late 1700’s. This was the time in England of
the Irish rebellion when many men and women started to be concerned with the people of the Irish
culture, so they decided to not let them take over, and with that being said, not let them work in
their stores.


As I kept looking at his very old and unique sign, many things came to my mind about m heritage and
also what my family went through to get this far in life. When I think about it and keep looking at
it, I said to myself “why would you keep this old piece of metal?”, and then it hit me, when my
family looks at this sign, it might bring back bad memories but also it says to them, we made it
through this tough time, and look where we are now. Even though they might have struggled to survive
and make money back then, we are comfortable and very proud of our heritage and how we got this far.
My grandmother also said when things went wrong in her old house she used to look at the sign and
think about how much her great-grandmother and grandfather went through, she then feels that nothing
is wrong and there is nothing she should be complaining about. So, this sign represents
discrimination an hate, and the reason why it was found in my house is because my great
great-grandmother and grandfather were alive and well during this time, they were discriminated and
abused about there heritage, but I applaud them very much so because without them, we would not be
as united and proud about our heritage to this day. Many people back then might have hated the Irish
culture, but it you look around, much of Massachusetts is Irish and very, very proud of it.

   
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  It is a place like no other, the place I have chosen is my own backyard on the legendary 79 Russell
Street in Quincy Massachusetts, right off East Squantum Street about three quarters of a mile from
North Quincy High School you can find the magical spot nicknamed “The Kernal Pot.”
Yesterday afternoon around three thirty, I peeked out my little window and was shocked to see what
has taken place, trees were at its final melting point from the slushy snow in the morning, each
step on my back porch was completely covered with slick, black ice. Barely getting a glimpse through
this foggy window of mine snowy grass is awaiting children to dive into it. Sometimes we fall into
traps of our own, but let that trap be a learning lesson for tomorrow.


As I scampered to my little window scanning the Kernal Pot for the second time, the sun shines onto
my paper creating a shadow as my pens moves swiftly across the page. A lonely leaf stands as he has
no other life form around to converse with; the empty trash barrel leaning on the garage looking
like no future is in store ahead. As the fog surrounds the windows of the nature green pickup in the
distance, I can feel the water like it was dripping down my face creating perspiration onto the
truck. Sometimes we let others fill our empty minds with garbage, be a leader in your own life and
take your own steps to success.


As I look onto the brisk, empty night I see the fertilizer from the day before freeze upon the
dead, brown grass. The bare trees stand alone while two birds head south into the distance for the
winter. The brown leaves stay in place as no wind fills the air. Looking closer and closer, the
green in the grass becomes thicker as true leaders live to see another day. We might have the choice
to be a leader or follower, the leaders become successful, but the followers just dream about being
leader. Be your own man; don’t let others live your life.


For the fourth day sitting down next to my little window full of wildlife and nature, I see two
squirrels sit upon my deck searching around for food and they become hungry into the winter days.
While the last leaf upon the old oak tree flows back in forth in motion, the branches become lonely
and start to break off upon the cold green grass. The paint upon my garage starts to chip because of
the strong gust of wind day in and day out, fighting for survival is key nature, being one within
yourself and staying strong is what keeps you safe and sounds through the cold nights ahead. As we
become older we start to branch off to different natures and head into the real world, who will be
the ones who succeed, be strong, be yourself, and don’t let others make mistakes in your life.
For the fifth and final day looking out into the Kernal Pot of life, I see the stack off leaves all
pile upon each other in the corner of the yard; the wind creates a family within them. Each leaf has
its own characteristic; each tree has different styles of branches swaying back and forth. The brisk
feeling in the hair makes me think how animals survive out there, no home, sometimes no food. The
porch becomes a different color as the cold air changes its state. We all are a different person,
even if we might look the same, talk the same, we all have a different state of mind, don’t try to
be someone your not, love yourself and don’t let others take advantage of being one within your
home, family, and most of all yourself.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  Edith Wharton, born into a New York City family in 1862 was educated privately all her life in New
York but also in Europe. She went onto marry a Boston banker in 1885. On the advice of her doctor,
she began to write fiction, and while caring for her husband she began to write more and more deeply
on the illness of Teddy. The doctor told her that writing would be a great way to relieve stress on
the issue, and ultimately it turned out tremendous. She began to get published in magazines and
newspapers but after a few years her best-selling novel the “The House of Mirth”, was an enormous
hit in New York. As World War I came around she started producing her best novels including, “Ethan
Frome”, “The Reef”, and “Custom of the Country.” Her biggest reward in life was her novel “Age of
Innocence” which was later made a movie and won the Pulitzer Prize. In her fiction, which continues
to attract readers and earn loads of fame, Wharton explores the conflicts between money and
morality, and shows the cruelty of society.


In the short novel “Quicksand” by Edith Wharton the theme of family plays a major role in creating
a great story. Edith Wharton creates a novel about a single woman named Mrs. Quentin, and she is not
your average housewife, she plays a character in this story and a woman who can see into her own
son’s mind and know exactly what he is going to do at all times of his life. As she is introduced in
this story, she is a typical housewife but it all changes when the mind reading is thrown into the
mix. She feels that society is not the same anymore; society has changed for the worse. Edith
portrays the two characters (Mrs. Quentin and her son which is unnamed) very well throughout the
story and is a change of pace for Wharton to write this.


A second main theme in this short story by Edith Wharton is society. In society back in times of
Wharton, woman was known as the “housewives”, and the woman did everything for the man and that is
that. In this story Wharton shows to the readers that there will be none of that throughout her
time, she was a woman in her time of her own thoughts, feelings and actions. Mrs. Quentin is not a
woman who you would put into the category of “housewife”; she does her own thing, does not take any
orders from anyone and feels that her family and her house are the two most important aspects of her
life. Society, as it is portrayed in this short story, sees Mrs. Quentin as a forceful woman who
strives to make others happy before herself, also she is known for her son whom she puts ahead of
her at all times of her life.


A third and last main theme of this short story by Wharton is politics. In this short story the
theme of politics is shown greatly and immensely throughout. Edith Wharton uses politics to her
advantage. In this story politics is not very broad but is shown that politics don’t run the town,
it is just their for the rules and laws. Politics nowadays is the “leader”, and does not take any
nonsense when it comes to family matters and justifications. Edith Wharton shows to the town that
she is her own self; she does not take anything but the love from her family. Politics can be a very
broad theme but in this story it is a very abrupt and simple theme, it shows the ups and downs of
society and shows to the reader that it is not a very big part, she is trying to show that politics
should not be like it is now, we depend more and more on our leaders and we need to work on being
ourselves, do your own things, be your own self. Live and love.


Throughout this short story by Edith Wharton, there are many themes shown to the reader about her
life and her past. With her time period being throughout World War I she tries to portray to the
readers that she is her own woman, she depends on no one.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you think of a great American sport many types of athletics come to mind such as baseball, the
greatest American pastime in all of history, basketball, hockey and many others but would Ultimate
Frisbee make that list in any such way? Ultimate Frisbee, a sport founded in 1968 by a group of
students at Columbia High School in Maplewood NJ, is a fast paced game relying on speed and
coordination. A game of Ultimate Frisbee is played by two seven-player teams with a high-tech
plastic disc on a field very similar to football. The object of the game is to score by catching a
pass in the opponent’s end zone. A player must stop running while in possession of the disc, but may
pivot and pass to any of the other receivers on the field. Ultimate Frisbee is governed by Spirit of
the Game, which is a tradition of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the
players rather than referees. Ultimate Frisbee, a game of Asian roots, but played as a great
American sport day in a day out worldwide.


Inside the Ultimate Players Association (UPA), there is a well developed hall of fame, an
incredibly formed league throughout the country, and enjoyed by many players. When I started
researching more and more about the game of Ultimate Frisbee I did not know that much about the
sport, even that it was a sport, so to go further more into my research I asked a couple people if
they knew anything about the sport. I asked 17 year old Kyle Tobin if he knew anything about
Ultimate Frisbee he said, “I play it sometimes up the park with a couple of my friends, but I had no
idea that it was a professional sport that is played throughout the country.” I also asked 45 year
old Lisa McGrath and she said “ I have no idea what Ultimate Frisbee is, I thought Frisbee was
something that you did when you were at the park or just hanging out in the summertime.” Out of the
10 people I asked about the game of Ultimate Frisbee, 7 out of 10 or 70% of the people had no idea
whatsoever that it is played throughout the country with competitiveness. With those two people
reacting the way they did, I realized that many people do not know how interesting or how intense
the sport of Ultimate Frisbee really is.


Going further and further into the history of the sport, I found out that top American actress,
Rachel McAdams, starring in “Wedding Crashers” and playing the lead role in “Red Eye”, plays a lot
in her free time with many of her friends and she says, “Its better than going to the gym…its really
social, you’re outside with other people—such a better way to get in shape. I’m hooked.” She plays
in her off time with co-actor and actresses, in “Wedding Crashers”, Owen Wilson, Diane Keaton, and
Sarah Jessica Parker. Another player of the intense Frisbee game is Derek Lowe, formerly of the Red
Sox. Derek also plays in his off time with a bunch of his buddies every Saturday.


Even though you might think that Ultimate Frisbee might not be so competitive, think again. There
are 5 Ultimate tournaments consisting of 48 teams throughout the U.S every year, one being the
Chicago Sandblast, in Chicago. Ken Lambert of the “Angmo Freakshow” team says “In Asia, the growth
potential of Ultimate is huge.” James Parinella of team “Death or Glory” says about the Spirit of
the Game, “the culture of the game says ‘play by the rules’ do whatever you won’t get called for.”
Also, Joshua Meyer of team “Control Board” says “the sport is certainly evolving from its hippie
roots, but it’s a young sport, and one would expect it to be different from the way it started out.”

A member from Port City Slickers spat on a player from Team Sockeye. Eric Simon from the Christian
Science Monitor comments on the spitting incident, “While many bemoan the spitting incident, very
few are aware that there was a punching incident at the very first UPA National Championships in
1979.” Even though the game of Ultimate Frisbee is a sport of player to player decisions, it may
sometimes get intense because it is what we call being “competitive.”


In David Egger’s “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”, the game of Frisbee is a game of
relaxation and a time to lay back and enjoy the day, the main character take his little brother to
beach on a summer day to throw around the Frisbee. “We throw the Frisbee further than anyone has
ever seen a frisbee go….,” he goes on to say “we look like professionals, like we’ve been playing
together for years.” The great sport of frisbee is a game of pass, a game of getting to know each
other and enjoying a summer day with friends and family, but now, as we know it, Ultimate Frisbee is
a game of the future and will be played for many years to come.

   
   
   
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