English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  Since the year 888 the word “Sick” has been used throughout many different cultures and languages.
It didn’t always ‘look’ like it does now. This word has had many different spellings throughout the
1100 years it has been used. Sick also had many different definitions, as the word developed and
evolved over time. A common perception of this word is that is usually has to do with something or
someone’s state of being. This word’s history reflects English’s history by the way it is used in
everyday life. This is one example of how the English language has evolved.

Some preliminary research that has been done on this word is a survey in which the person is asked
what first comes to their mind when they hear the word “sick”. Then they are asked to make a
sentence with the word. This survey shows how the word is being used in today’s world. Edward:
older, male. Society, “We are living in an unbelievable, sick society. Edward uses sick to describe
our society today and what he thinks of it. Carol: older, female; illness, medicine, “I was sick in
bed yesterday.” She used the word describing how she was in bed yesterday, not feeling good. Billy:
young, male; something cool, “That new truck is sick.” (Slang). Billy used the word as an adjective,
showing how much he likes the new truck. Grace: female, young; cough, throw up, “I was sick last
week.” Grace referred to “sick” as a noun showing you how she felt last week. Amy: female, older;
not feeling well, disease, “The man was sick with cancer.” Amy used the word as a noun also, and
giving us a description of what kind of illness (cancer). All three of the females made a sentence
with “sick” having to do with an illness. The two males thought of something totally different than
the females when they heard the word. The young one (Billy) thought of “sick” as a slang term, used
by many younger kids, in today’s teen culture. The older one (Edward) thought of “sick” as having to
do with today’s culture and politics.

Some people whose native language isn’t English said similar things to the people who were surveyed
before. Pablo, a Spanish speaker, thought of medicine when he heard the word “sick”, and said “ The
man had to go to the doctors because he was sick and needed medical attention.” The second
correspondent, John Carlos, thought of a person with a cold, and said, “Please don’t come near me if
you have a cold.” Both replied with a similar answer and sentence as to the five before them who all
speak English as their native language.

The Oxford English Dictionary or OED has listed the many definitions of the word “sick”. Some of the
definitions of the word are: suffering from illness, ill, unwell of any kind, to get sick, not in a
healthy state, more fully sick in the stomach. Some different or unique definitions are spiritually
or morally ailing, corrupt through sin and wrong doing, deeply affected by some strong feeling,
mentally affected or weak, out of condition in some respect, requiring repairs. As a term of fish:
in the spawning stage. For a bird: the young and un-grown feathers of a bird. Ephraim Chambers said,
“The shotten and sick Herrings are sorted by themselves” in 1728. In the Stock Exchange: slow or
dull. J.K Medbery, the author of Men and Mysteries of Wall St. said, “ A sick market, the market is
ill. When brokers very generally hesitate to buy.” And also of humor: providing amusement to
something that is thoroughly unpleasant. This word also has some slang terms like disgusted,
mortified, and chagrined. Some phrases that have to do with the word are sick and tired of
something, sick of death, sick as a dog.

Many famous authors have used the word “sick” in their writing such as Shakespeare. Shakespeare used
it in Richard 3. “Thy death-bed is no lesser than the Lad, Wherein thou lyest in reputation sicke.”
This is talking about someone’s reputation as being sick, which is how the person is recognized.
William Caxton used the word in Dictes 9 in 1477, “It proffiteth as a good medicine couenably yeven
to them that be seke.” This is referring to medicine and curable with the word “sick”. John Wyclif,
an English Theologian, who also used the word “sick” in various works and was the first to translate
the entire Bible in English. He said, “ I be simpul and sik ne eles I wile euere haue a clerk”. I
think this means that this person is not a clerk when he is sick or simple; not feeling good.
William Yeats used “sick” in Where there is Nothing, in 1903, in the sentence, “ No fear, they won’t
refuse a sick man.” This sentence is talking about the state of being of the man, and telling you
that you are kind of privileged more when you’re sick.

“Sick” has variously reflected over English’s history since it was first spoken and used in the
English language. This word pops up throughout history countless times in many important works of
English. English words are always evolving and changing, and “sick” is one that has recently changed
a lot. “Sick” has many definitions, each with a different meaning, and will get more new meanings as
times passes. “Sick” is in people’s regular vocabulary whether they’re, not feeling well, have a
cold, or for the young ones meaning something cool. Which is really the opposite of the real
definition. The many varieties in the word “sick’ show how the English Language’s history has
influenced in English’s history throughout the years. I don’t think the word sick will die out until
all sicknesses have been eliminated. Then, I think the word’s many uses will have no need. I don’t
expect all sicknesses to be cured any time soon so I don’t think we have to worry about when “sick”
will become extinct.













Dear Master Anonymous,

I am sorry to say but your work, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, is going to have to be omitted
from our textbook. This was a hard decision because there are so many authors in the textbook to
review. Unfortunately yours was on the bottom of the list. Your work is very dramatic, romantic, and
very similar to a present day soap-opera, but is too confusing for high school students with the old
type of English language used that is not spoken today. Students get easily confused when trying to
decipher or translate the words and sentences in the text to their meanings. One thing I find wrong
is how you make King Arthur out to be childish and mysterious. I also feel that you use too many
religious references that are connected to Sir Gawain. The final thing I find wrong is the way you
make Gawain feel ashamed of what he had accomplished at the end when meeting back up with his
friends and king. I think it misleads the reader into thinking his journey wasn’t honorable. I have
also found secondary sources that back up my reasons towards your rejection from the Prentice Hall

The way you describe King Arthur is the first mistake I found in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
The first lines I find out of place are in Fit 1:5:85-94 on page 24. This is a plot that makes a
mystery man out of King Arthur and diminishes some of his qualities as king. You call him
child-like, gay (happy), and having young blood. This confuses the reader into thinking that he may
be in on the trick with the Green Knight. Which would make him look like a bad guy. I think you
could have done without that. Robert C. Evans of Auburn University Montgomery writes a secondary
source that backs up my reason of rejection. He says, “The poet repeatedly stresses the youth of
Arthur and his court, noting that they "in their first age / were still" (54-55). Arthur
himself is described as "a little boyish", and the poet adds, "So busy [was] his
young blood, and his brain so wild" (89). It is possible to read this opening scene, therefore,
as implying the immaturity of Arthur and his courtiers.” He goes along with my reason of you making
King Arthur out to be a young boy, who has no experience, or for that matter a beard.

One thing in the story that I eventually found useless to the reader was the many times Sir Gawain
is connected to religious references. He has already proven a noble, respectable person through many
ways and the story doesn’t have to keep saying every time he goes to church. He is noble at the
beginning and on his journey and when meeting with the king’s wife. He gives the king’s word that he
will not sleep with her when he leaves and doesn’t even though she want to. That alone should be
enough evidence to prove his loyalty, nobility, and trustworthiness. As a secondary source, Robert
C. Evans states, “The gloomy details of this journey recall the similar gloom of the journey at the
beginning of Fitt 2, as the poem once again shifts its emphasis from apparent prosperity to apparent
adversity. Just as Gawain had carefully prepared himself for the journey at the start of section 2,
so he does the same now, but whereas earlier the poet had emphasized Gawain’s shield (symbolizing
both his personal virtue and his Christian faith), now the poet stresses at length Gawain's
reliance on the green girdle, by which he hopes to "keep himself safe" (2030-2042, esp.
2040). Ironically, however, despite his own reliance on magic, when Gawain departs from the castle
where he has resided for the preceding several days, he exclaims, "'May Christ this house
maintain / and guard it from mischance'" (2067-2068). With similar irony, Gawain also
blesses himself as he leaves the castle (2071) and is blessed in turn by the porters who, watching
him depart, expresses the hope that God will protect the knight (2071-2072). Likewise, the heavy
(and ironic) emphasis on religious language continues when the guide accompanying Gawain urges the
knight to abandon his quest and even offers to perjure himself to protect Gawain's reputation:
"Go off by some other road, in God's own name! Leave by some other land, for the love of
Christ, And I shall get me home again, and give you my word That I shall swear by God's self
and the saints above, By heaven and by my halidom and other oaths more, To conceal this day's
deed, nor say to a soul That ever you fled for fear from any that I knew." (2119-2125). We both
feel that you did not have to use as many religious references as you did.

On the 2504th line in Fit 4: 100 you say, “When he showed his mark of shame”. I feel like this is
poorly written because before Gawain left for his journey it was his duty and honor to face the
knight. It is almost as if now his journey was bad, because he wanted to live more than die. If you
had said mark of close death, or honor then I think it would make more sense. This changes the
reader’s feelings towards Gawain and his honor. He should be happy that he lived and got to go back
to the castle? My secondary reference, Robert C. Evans, said, “His pride hurt, Gawain insists that
he will not flinch a second time. On the second stroke, however, it is the Green Knight who
deliberately pulls back, withdrawing "the ax adroitly before it did damage" (2291), and
thereby seeming (to Gawain, at least) to be toying with the hapless visitor. Gawain responds with
"rage" (2299), and the Green Knight promises that the third stroke will be the last. It
is, but not in the way Gawain expects: instead of removing Gawain's head, the Green Knight
merely nicks his neck: Gawain receives no harm "Save a scratch on one side, that severed the
skin; / The end of the hooked edge entered the flesh, / And a little blood lightly leapt to the
earth" (2312-2314). Once again Gawain is furious, and he threatens now to retaliate if the
Green Knight should attempt another blow. The Knight, however, feels fully satisfied: he praises
Gawain for his courage in coming and for his honor in submitting to the three blows, and he
announces that he considers Gawain's obligations fully discharged. He makes the point that even
after the Green Knight discharged Gawain, he was still angry as if he hadn’t changed because of

All in all I am very sorry that I have to let you go but you will be qualified for the next years’
edition. I will be happy to look at all your works next year and hope you make the list. Please no
hard feelings; you are a very good writer.

Gordy Colleran
Prentice Hall Textbook Editor










According to the Oxford English Dictionary James Naismith first used “basketball” in 1892 when
officially writing down the rules to the game. The National Basketball Association lists the history
and rules of the game. The NBA said that a soccer ball was first used as the ball the players played
with, and that they shot into peach baskets in a Massachusetts YMCA. According to the NBA, James
Naismith created basketball in 1891, in Springfield, MA. It is 117 years old, and is now played by
over 300 million people worldwide. Basketball has been played in Britain ever since it has been
invented but was never popular until after World War Two, which makes it 117 years old, but only
popularly played for only 63 years. The London Times and the Sun both have basketball’s popularity
in Britain ranking 8th. It’s grown tremendously but is still behind football, cricket, golf, tennis,
rugby, motor sport and horse racing. The development of basketball in Britain shows that they like
to be associated with Americans and the sports they play. Basketball shows that British people want
to be associated again with Americans in the similarity of the types of writing that each culture

According to the Mirror, basketball started being played as a league called the British Basketball
League in Britain in 1987 as the men’s professional basketball league. Currently there are ten teams
of the BBL: The Chester Jets, Guildford Heat, The Leicester Riders, London United, The Milton Keynes
Lions, The Newcastle Eagles, The Plymouth Riders, The Scottish Sharks, and The Worcester Wolves.
There are many professional and amateur basketball leagues in the United Kingdom.
Lynard Stewart, Center for the Newcastle Eagles is now one of the most dominating players in the
league, leading his team to the top of the BBL Championship. Lynard says, “After the NBA comes to
London, British people will become more interested in basketball. British basketball stars are now
starting to become known to the NBA, which has a lot to do with the urgency of creating more teams
in Europe to play in the NBA.

Basketball has been in British news a lot lately due to the fact that the NBA will be playing a
series of games in London and in the surrounding European cities. The NBA is also trying to create
five European teams to join the NBA, and London might be one of them. London is also going to be the
host for the 2011 NBA All-Star game at the 02 Arena. “As David Stern, commissioner of the National
Basketball Association, looks down from the top of London's City Hall, he can discern a bright
British future for his sport” wrote the Telegraph October 10, 2007. With these new attractions
coming to Britain the popularity of basketball is going to increase even more rapidly than it is

Basketball is in British news all the time now that there are many active leagues. The London Times,
Telegraph, Daily News, and Sun all have multiple articles on basketball. Although not many recent
articles show up because the season is over. Both the Daily News and the Telegraph both have their
last article about basketball posted on October 14, 2007, when the BBL Championship was played.
Basketball will become one of the most popular sports in Britain in the near future because of all
the effort the NBA is putting in to get European teams in their league. I think that in the next few
years’ basketball will become the second or third most popular sport just behind soccer. Basketball
will be around for a long time in Britain and will eventually become blended with the NBA and
America’s basketball. British people are getting better and better at basketball and maybe someday
will surpass the Americans as being the powerhouse of basketball in the world.

























Literature has been written all around the world since the early eight century, when Beowulf
was written. All of these writers, poets, songwriters, play writers, and many more have made
advances that help advance everyday life. My earliest author is Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), then
William Shakespeare (1564-16160, John Donne
(1572-1631), John Milton (1608-1674), Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Alexander Pope (1688-1744), Jane
Austen (1775-1817), John Keats (1795-1821), A.E Housman (1859-1936), Virginia Woolf (1882-1941),
George Orwell (1903-1950), Doris Lessing (1919-present), and finally J.K Rowling (1965-present).
These thirteen authors have a wide spread of birth dates and all made a very solid impact in British
and world literature. Each of the authors expresses certain devices that they use in their writing
and will be remembered for many years to come. Throughout British Literature there have been five
key devices and throughout these thirteen writers: gender, theme, resolutions, form, and setting.
Each one of these devices has been specified into female hardships, surprise endings, problems that
characters face, heroic themes, and expected or usual settings of the writer’s time.

The first subject of conversation is about female hardships. J.K Rowling uses gender in her writing
in her own specific way. She dealt with gender problems right from the beginning of her career
because her publisher didn’t want her to use her name because he thought that boys wouldn’t read her
books. Geoffrey Chaucer also talks about his works and the connection to women. Geoffrey
Chaucer's works often ventures into the area of gender and religious studies. His works consist
of women dying or having other issues like in The Book of the Duchess. Chaucer's variety
of female figures in varying lights and contexts have led too much modern criticism focused on
issues of sexuality and gender. In his study of Chaucer's narrative technique, E. Talbot
Donaldson, a critic, focuses on the stories of several female characters. Donaldson argues that
while each of Chaucer's (male) narrators seems to provide a unified point of view, each
actually describes things “simultaneously from several distinct points of view,” permitting the
reader to see potentials in the women that the narrator appears not to see, “preoccupied as he is
with the ladies' outward beauty.” William Shakespeare also talks about the hardships female
faced in literature in his works. Throughout Romeo and Juliet there is a presence of the typical
roles that men and women were supposed to play. During Elizabethan times there was a major
difference between the way men and women were supposed to act. Men typically were supposed to be
masculine and powerful. Women, on the other hand, were supposed to be subservient to their men in
their lives and do as ever they wished. In Romeo and Juliet the typical gender roles that men
and women were supposed to play had an influence on the fate of their lives. A critic named Carol
Thomas Neeley says "gender distinctions . . . are expanded, magnified, and ratified in this
work as in no other Shakespearean play”. Virginia Woolf’s literature deals much with gender. She
makes her female character’s traits inferior to men because she feared what might happen to her if
she made the female characters better than the male ones. In her book Orlando the narrator of
the chronicles said, "modesty as to her writing, her vanity as to her person, her fears for her
safety”. Doris Lessing , another famous author, speaks about how hard it was for women with extra
enthusiasm because she is a female. She says that her book, A Woman on the Roof “transports
us to a less complex time, to the early 1960s, when the roles of men and women were clearer, before
the Sexual Revolution and feminism”. She makes her character attractive and repelling to two men to
see what they can accomplish while being around the woman. Jefferson Flanders, a critic to “A
Woman on the Roof
”, talks about how Doris makes the female characters appealing to men, just as
she saw in her life. All of these authors deal with gender and more specifically the hard times
females went through in British Literature in their works. Gender is one of the five major devices
that play a huge role in how a story or play is seen out.

The second key device that is used with all of these authors is their surprise endings. The
wonderful authors in this topic of disscussion are Geoffrey Chaucer, Dorris Lessing, Virginia Woolf,
John Milton, and Jonathon Swift. All of these fantastic writers share the similarities in their
resolutions. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale, there was a very unexpected ending
that took many by surprise. “…And as we did before, let's laugh and play." And then they
kissed and rode forth on their way.” (Prologue to the Pardoner’s Tale 293-294). This quote by
Chaucer sums up what happens in the end of his story, no one getting hurt and the animals going
about their business, which was very unexpected because the climax to the story would have been when
the fox killed the chicken, if it had ultimately happened. Many people thought that the fox was
going to eat the chicken, but no the fox helps the chicken and then has to run away. Dorris Lessing
also had a surprise ending in The Golden Notebook. “The Golden Notebook for some
reason surprised people but it was no more than you would hear women say in their kitchens every day
in any country.” Lessing says this because she is surprised that her readers are surprised. As
divorced English novelist Anna Wulf leaves the Communist Party and addresses domestic crises, she
pens her thoughts about her African upbringing, politics, a diary, and a novel titled Free Women.
Presented to readers in alternating order until the finale, when Anna realizes her
"wholeness," these notebooks offer insight not only into postwar London, but also into the
"hazards and chances of being a ‘free woman’" in a changing society. “The book is chaotic,
difficult to read, sometimes puzzling” said the Saturday Review. Virginia Woolf wrote The Light
, which also made people confused about the ending. John Milton, who wrote Paradise
, ends this book with an unexpected resolution. Jonathan Swift, who wrote the excellent
Gulliver’s Travels, added a surprise ending to his piece of work. ‘It was "so new and so
strange," said Dr. Samuel Johnson, "that it filled the reader with a mingled emotion of
merriment and amazement.’ All five of these authors express surprise resolutions in their wonderful
literary works.

The unusual or unexpected setting is the third device with works form Alexander Pope, John Keats,
and Jane Austen. Alexander Pope wrote The Rape of the Lock, which takes place in a rich
family’s house where the family is playing cards. It’s a very unusual setting because the entire
scene takes place inside a room, fighting over a lock of hair. The Rape of the Lock however,
was very unusual for Keats. It’s a sonnet about a young woman and the joys of life she has. Edward
Holmes, a critic, and fellow student of Keats, said, “You will remark that this taste came out
rather suddenly and unexpectedly”. One critic named Ian Lancashire said, “The version of 1714
exploited far more fully the idea of a "heroic-comical" poem”. A profound and proven
author named John Keats wrote Fancy, which has a usual, upper-class setting. Another
experienced author named Jane Austen wrote about the usual settings in her novel Mansfield
. These authors show the small portion in British Literature, who has unusual depictions of

The fourth device, theme, is used by these authors and their characters always having to overcome
difficult situations. It’s the topics which the writer composes his/her work. For A.E Houseman,
George Orwell, J.K Rowling, John Milton, John Donne, and Alexander Pope the theme similarly involved
is a character having to try and overcome a problem or difficult situation. A.E Houseman wrote To
an Athlete Dying Young
, which deals with an athlete trying to overcome the odds and not be
overrun by competitors that could tear him apart. George Orwell has a character in 1984,
which has to face problems. Orwell said, “I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much
eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.” in recollection to this theme in the after word of 1984. J.K
Rowling has many characters throughout her Harry Potter series, which come up against major
problems. Her character Harry Potter has to face many villains who keep giving him problems
throughout his life. Rowling says, “Its our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our
abilities.” A critic named Stephen King said “And so now the hurly-burly's done, the
battle's lost and won…” John Milton’s Paradise Lost has a theme of troubled character.
In Paradise Lost Milton says, “Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit, of that forbidden
tree whose mortal taste, Brought death into the world, and all our woe.” Peter Herman, a critic,
says “the issue of Paradise Lost and uncertainty as unresolved contradiction subverts the masterplot
of Milton criticism…” John Donne wrote Holy Sonnet X and said, “Death be not proud, though some
have called thee, Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so. For, those whom thou think'st thou
dost overthrow, Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.” An author who really shows his
character dealing with a problem is Alexander Pope in Essay on Man said, “A man should never be
ashamed to own he has been wrong, which is saying that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” A
critic named John Dryden said, “…His poems often allude to contemporary events and the rich and
famous of early eighteenth-century…” These talented authors wrote about characters overcoming
difficult situations as a theme in their famous works.

The fifth and final literary device, which is a key to these authors, is the way they write poems
and stories with different forms. William Shakespeare, John Donne, Jonathan Swift, John Keats, and
Jane Austen all have similar or very different forms in their writing. William Shakespeare wrote in
what is now called Shakespearean forms, only to be named after him, but also sonnets. Samuel
Johnson, a critic, says, “…As the eye surveys the sun through artificial opacity. The great
contention of criticism is to find the faults of the moderns, and the beauties of the ancients.
While an authour is yet living we estimate his powers by his worst performance, and when he is dead
we rate them by his best.” This quote depicts how well Shakespeare’s poems are formed even long
after his death, when his work will be evaluated the most. John Donne uses form in the same way
writing his peoms in sonnet form. He uses this form to even write songs like The Flea and
The Sun Rising. Jonathan Swift writes in a different form mainly in pamphlets. Swift said,
“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” John Keats writes differently also in the
form of ballads, which is somewhat similar to sonnets. He said that his work Endymion was
“Handsomely printed”. Jane Austen also chose a different path by writing novels. Unlike the other
poets she had no syllable, or line limit. Roger Defoe says, “The literary descent of Jane
Austen’s fiction is plain to trace…” There are many different types of writing styles in British
Literature when it comes to form. These authors are just a tiny piece of evidence that British
authors did not all write the same way.

If there were any authors who express the five key literary devices in British Literature it would
be these thirteen authors from above. Nobody else writes better than this group, easily showing how
they write and how they use the devices like form, setting, resolutions, gender, and theme. Without
these five devices none of these authors would have been able to write their magnificent works of
British Literature, which will impact literature throughout the world for many years to come. These
outstanding authors have revolutionized the means of writing British Literature and there will be
many more authors just like them for many decades to follow.

Bibliography Work Cited Page.

Defoe, Roger. "The Literary Decent of Jane Austen." By Jnae Austen. Mansfield Park.
Donaldson, E. Talbot. "Female Characters." Rev. of Chaucer's Narrative, by Geoffrey
Chaucer. The Book of Duchess.
Dryden, John. Rev. of An Essay on Man, by Alexander Pope. An Essay on Man: 13-15.
Flanders, Jefferson. "A Woman on the Roofs." By Doris Lessing. A Woman on the Roofs 2003.
Herman, Peter. "The Issue of Paradise Lost." Rev. of Paradise Lost, by John Milton.
Paradise Lost: 17
Holmes, Edward. "1." MetaCritic. 16 May 2008 <www.metacritic.com>.
Johnson, Dr. Samuel. Rev. of Gulliver's Travels, by John Milton. Gulliver's Travels.
Lancashire, Ian. "The Rape of the Lock." By Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock.
Neeley, Carol. "Romeo and Juliet." Rev. of Gender Distinctions, by William Shakespeare.
Romeo and Juliet.