English 10: Writing Portfolio

 

Catholic Memorial High School

 

2007-2008

   
   
   
   
   
Research  
   
Creative Writing  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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  If you wanted to see a long, drawn-out, and painful struggle, ask a person of the current generation
what “carnage” means. In 1600, “carnage” was written for the first time while referring to a battle
in the sentence, “the carnage and execution was no less during the battle then after. This
definition has remained into modern times but “Carnage” has also been a time of the year when it was
lawful to eat meat and after that “carnage” became the meat that hunters would feed to hunting dogs.
However, both of these definitions have expired and “carnage” has evolved into a word that is
almost always referring to a war or a battle. The modern definition of “carnage” refers to the
slaughter of a great number of people and creatures or a collection of the bodies of the dead after
a battle or war. While the literal definition of carnage does not represent the changing English
language, the destruction of human life that carnage represents does represent the ever shifting
English culture.

In order to find out what other people knew about the word “carnage” I went down to the school
cafeteria and surveyed the students at my table to hear what they thought about the word “carnage”.
The first person I surveyed was my classmate Hagop who had this to say when I asked for his thoughts
on the word “carnage”, “I dunno. What does it mean?” Needless to say Hagop was incapable of using
“carnage” in a sentence. The second person I asked about the definition of “carnage” followed suit
with 60% of the people surveyed when Brian Mannion said, “carnage has to do with killing something.”
Brian had a general definition of carnage but, the sentence he used it in shows a lack of respect
for the magnitude of death that a word like “carnage” represents. The last person I surveyed showed
a deep understanding of the word and gave a great definition when Jonathon Lott said, “carnage is
referring to death and destruction.” When asked to use it in a sentence to prove just how well he
knew the word, Lott said, “The marauders assaulted the outskirts of the city and the carnage from
the skirmish was never matched by a single battle during that century.” Lott used impressive words
around Carnage and completely understood the word he chose to represent the battle field after the
fight was over.

After surveying the average Joes in the lunch room, I went and asked 3 foreign exchange students
what they thought of the word “carnage”. The first person I asked is a member of my chemistry
honors class named Yung Moon. Yung Moon is a junior but, has never heard the word “carnage”. The
second person I asked was Alex Lee who is in my Spanish 2 honors class. Alex Lee was in the same
boat as Yung Moon and had never heard the word “carnage” before I asked him. The third and final
person I interviewed was George. George is Albanian and is in many honors classes including my
Geometry honors class and chemistry honors class. George is very smart but, not even he knew what
“carnage” meant. George impressed me with his knowledge of the origins of the “carnage” but did not
figure out the definition until after I had already told him the definition. This poll suggests
that “carnage” is not a common word that is taught when people are learning the English language.

“Carnage” is found in the works of a collection of authors and it is almost always used in a
negative way. An Anglo-Scottish poet named George Gordon Byron wrote “carnage smiled upon her daily
dead”. This statement personified “carnage” as a woman and uses it in an extremely negative way.
Another writer who used the word in a negative way was Colley Cibber who wrote, “These carnage
lovers have such a meanness in their soul” in his book, The Refusal, which was written in 1721.
Just by reading the sentence, you can tell that “carnage” is used in a negative way even if you
didn’t understand what “carnage” meant.

In recent history, “carnage” has been used in all kinds of magazines, newspapers, and television
broadcasts. “Carnage” was used to describe the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith which somewhat under minds
the power of the word but, it was also used by Jerry Bowen, a CBS correspondent, to describe the
rising the raising murder rate in L.A in 2002. In 2004, a newspaper called The Times, wrote an
article about a suicide bomber and used “carnage” to describe the aftermath of the explosion.
“Carnage” has been used a lot recently because of all the wars in the world but, the last use that I
will mention was in a poem written by Deseree Meyer. Deseree Meyer was a student poet wrote a poem
titled Ritual Carnage. The poem is about a beautiful woman who looks happy from the outside but,
lonely and sad on the inside. In this story, “carnage” doesn’t take on the slaughter definition
but, it still is used in a very negative way that reflects on the sadness and loneliness of the
women.

If “carnage” was a word in the Middle Ages, carnage-covered could be used to describe a battle field
after one or two hundred people had died. In modern warfare, a battle resulting in the loss of one
to two hundred soldiers during a battle is considered a minor loss. This shows two things about the
modern world that are in contrast to the past. The first thing it shows is a growth in the world’s
population and an increase in modern technology’s ability to deal out death during a time of war.
The second contrast with modern world is the power that a word like “carnage” commands. When you
hear “carnage” in the U.S today, your mind immediately goes to the slaughter of thousands of people
on a battlefield over in Iraq. In the years 1000 C E, a slaughter was when a couple hundred
soldiers died. With this growth in power, I believe “carnage” will have a long life in countries of
war. As long as countries are at war and the English language exists, “carnage’s” meaning will
continue to grow in power and will have a prominent life in U.S culture.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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Dear Scribe,


After much thought and consideration, we regret to inform you that Beowulf will not
be included in the next edition of Prentice Hall Literature Timeless Voices Timeless Themes. While
Prentice Hall respects that you are the first person to write a story in the English language, we
believe it is time to move on and find more modern writers who have had an influence on modern life.
The text found in Beowulf was sexist against women, too grotesque, and not educational enough for a
tenth grade class. In today’s world, the themes and language barrier between Beowulf and modern
English speakers makes your book appropriate for a senior level English course or possibly even a
college level course. Though the decision was hard, we believe your work needed the largest
adjustment to be suitable for a tenth grade class.


The first compatibility issue we found between your book and our audience was the obvious disrespect
shown towards women. The first woman to appear in Beowulf was Wealhtheow. Wealhteow is the queen
of Hrothgar’s mead hall and plays a very minor role. However, in the scenes she is present;
Wealhtheow is doing less than appealing things. When she first arrives, Wealhtheow is carrying a
ceremonial goblet for people to drink. Why would a Queen be carrying beer to a party? As a Queen
Wealhtheow should have treated with more respect and should be more than a maid who is getting
drinks for the men. During the same scene, Wealhtheow is talking with Beowulf and enjoys listening
to his boasts. The Queen should not be flirting with other men and the scene that happened off the
record while Grendel was attacking should have even been hinted at. Where was Beowulf when Grendel
attacked while he was there? In short, Wealhtheow should have been treated like a person, not a
prop.


The second problem we had with your book was the violent and gory nature of the story. Throughout
Beowulf, there are scenes in which men are slaughtered and eaten, Grendel’s mother is decapitated,
and Grendel loses an arm when Beowulf rips it off. While the scenes of death and destruction add a
much needed aspect of excitement, they are not appropriate for people of this age group. Prentice
Hall Literature understands that it was most likely acceptable for kids much younger than 15 and 16
to read about and maybe even see these types of thing back when you were a young writer but, the
times have changed. In modern culture, even full grown adults can get nauseous reading about
dismembering a person or animal. The level of violence that is described so vividly through the
book is just another reason to move up the suggested age group of the book from tenth grade to the
senior or college grade level.


The final flaw that led us to this decision was the fact that the book is non-educational. The book
makes it seem like the only things the people who lived in the sixth did was drink alcohol, sleep,
fight, and die. While many people did a lot of those things, the people also did a lot more but, it
seems you forgot to write about the positive things that the people did during their lives. The
story of Beowulf is not meant to be a tool of teaching and we recognize that but, if it is not meant
to teach a lesson, why make students read the story? It is difficult to teach something positive
from a book that completely revolves around death and destruction. The only lessons that could come
from this story are dark and cynical and are those really the lessons we want to teach to a tenth
grade class?


We are sure that news of the removal of Beowulf from Prentice Hall Literature is probably hard news
to swallow but, we are not completely closing the Prentice Hall doors on your work. If you have an
article that better fits our description of a tenth grade book, feel free to send it into our office
and we will gladly review it and include it in our next edition if we find that it is appropriate
for high school students. Though our business together seems to have come to an end for now Scribe,
we have suggested Beowulf to many colleges as a must read for English majors and British Literature
majors. We are confident that you will be able to rebound from this loss and come out with many new
books that will be suitable for teenagers or adults.

Sincerely,
Timothy McLaughlin and
Prentice Hall Literature

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the World Book Encyclopedia, the first bicycle ever conceived dates all the way back to
sometime during the 1490’s when a student of Leonardo Da Vinci’s drew rough drafts of a bicycle and
gave them to Leonardo for one of his many notebooks. Also according to the World Book Encyclopedia,
the next bicycle design was created by Karl Von Drais in 1817 and it was called the Draisin. The
Draisin was operated by using your feet to push yourself along. The Draisin was wildly popular as a
means of transportation and laid the groundwork for all advancements leading to our modern bicycle
design. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, the actual sport aspect of bicycles did not begin
until 1868 and the first race was only a 2km path at Padre de St. Cloud. Despite having a large
impact on daily life, bicycles did not appear in literature until 1883. The O.E.D credited a book
called “Cycling in London” as the first piece of literature to use the word cycling when referring
to riding a bicycle. Cycling’s alternate definition, to revolve, made its first appearance in
literature in 1848 in “Two Voices.” Biking is a popular sport in Britain and receives a decent
amount of space on most of the large newspapers’ websites but, the only way to find articles about
cycling was through the search bar. Biking has had a large impact on not only daily life but, also
on literature concerning travel or sports.

One of the premier British bikers of the 1950s was Reginald Harris. According to Wheelers, a biking
organization, Reginald was born near Bury on March 1st, 1920 and began racing at the age of 14.
According to wheelers Reginald joined the Cyclists’ Touring Club and won his first official race in
1935 and about one year later, Reginald won his first event when he competed at Fallowfield Stadium
in Manchester. Reginald joined the Manchester Wheels Club in 1939 and won his first major race in
Coventry. According to Wheelers, while visiting Milan, Reginald was recalled by the British
government and WWII began. Reginald served as a tank driver in the 10th Hussars but, was wounded
during the war and was deemed unfit to fight in 1943. Against all odds, Reginald went on to win
1000 yard, quarter mile, and 5 mile nation championships in 1944. According to wheelers Reginald
was invited to Paris in 1945 to compete and won the world amateur sprint title in 1947. In 1948,
Reginald won 2 silver medals in the Olympics. Considering that Reginald fractured two vertebrae
only a few months before in a road accident and fractured his elbow only a few weeks before,
Reginald did unbelievably well. According to wheelers, Reginald turned pro 2 weeks after the
Olympics and won the professional sprint championship in Copenhagen in 1945 and would retain that
title for the next two years. Reginald competed in his last professional world championship when he
won a title in Cologne in 1954. Reginald retired in 1957 and began a business adventure. However,
according to wheelers, Reginald could not fight the urge to race again and won the bronze in the
British Championship at Birmingham in 1971. In 1974, Reginald returned and placed first and capped
of his career in 1975 by winning second.

Graham Paul Webb was an amateur was a biker who raced around the 1970’s. According to Graham
entered his first race at 16 and stumbled into the racing world with little knowledge of the sport.
According to Bermingham.gov.uk Graham won his first time trial race and put up a time that made even
professionals at the time take a second look at his time and 1963, Graham joined the World Team
Trial in and won the National pursuit challenge three years later. According to the Birmingham
website, Graham did officially turn pro but, had no achievements as a pro and retired after only a
year due to severe medical injuries. Webb was a very good racer but, is most known for this quote,
“And they'll have to wait another 45 years before another British rider wins”. According to
Bermingham.gov.uk Webb was joking with a reporter when he said it would take 45 years for the next
British rider to win a world road race championship but, Webb’s joke became fact and he became the
last British Amateur champion that will ever be. Graham is now incapable of racing due to the weak
status of his body but, he still loves to attend racing events and is a well known figure in the
racing world.


Cycling isn’t the most popular sport in Britain but, it still boasts a decently large fan base in
England and worldwide. After going to the sun, the telegraph, and the mirror, it was easy to see
that articles on professional biking were not hard to come by and they were also relatively fresh
articles. The articles about cycling have a good amount of variety and mention both the average
biker and the professional biker. One article that came up was called “Shearer's going to
Newcastle” by Adrian Chiles. The article was all about average bikers attempting to ride a
professional distance for charity. Bikers will have to race 350 miles to the finish line and all of
the proceeds go to underprivileged children. A celebrity who was attending the race named Adrian
Chiles said, “Although several hours of training a week for a 350-mile ride from Newcastle to London
is tough, it’s all for Sport Relief.” Adrian also expressed sympathy toward professional bikers and
a new understanding of the term “saddle sore”. Another article which was featured by the telegraph
was “Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins lead gold chase” by Daniel Fri຾. This article was
about the British cycling team and their preparation for the growing race for Olympic gold.
According to the article, the British team is one of the best teams in the country and is expected
to win multiple gold medals in the Olympics. The performance director for the team was quoted
saying, “I think that what we did last year in Majorca hurt quite a few teams. I think they'll
have raised their game. The standard and level of motivation is always that much higher in Olympic
year.” With a team of cyclists that is so well equipped to win Olympic gold, it is easy to under
why biking has become a popular sport in Britain.

Biking has grown fast and wide. People all over the world know of at least one biker and it is due
to a large fan base that biking has grown so fast. It is also because of the accessibility. In
most sports, a professional is a professional and an amateur is an amateur. In cycling, everyone
who competes is an equal and you don’t need to be celebrity to be noticed. Cycling is a great sport
and seems to have a long and strong future in Britain. Biking is not the number one sport in
Britain but, if the British cycling team can win gold at the Olympics, a surge of popularity could
be in the future for cycling in England.