English 10: Writing Portfolio
Catholic Memorial High School
|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
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
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.
According to the World Book Encyclopedia, the
first bicycle ever conceived dates all the way back to