English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  The word ice has been included in the English vocabulary since being used in the tale of Beowulf
around the year 1000 CE. The word is now approximately 1,700 years old. The new members of the
hockey team met in the center of the rink to break the ice is a pun for the word ice. Many people
in today’s English speaking world think of the word ice as “bling” or jewelry, but it is actually
frozen water or a massive piece of frozen water. This word’s history reflects the English language
because it has been around since the first known work of English literature and has changed over
time as has the English language.

The word ice has many different meanings. In Merriam Websters Collegiate Dictionary, ice is
defined as “frozen water”or “a state of coldness” or “a frozen dessert containing a flavoring.” The
American Heritage College Dictionary lists ice as “water frozen solid” or “a surface, layer, or mass
of frozen water” and in Dictionary.com, ice is “the solid form of water, produced by freezing;
frozen water.” These dictionaries contain similar definitions for the word ice. They all describe
it using the words water, frozen, freezing or cold. Merriam Websters Collegiate Dictionary is the
only dictionary out of the three to define ice as a dessert.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) contains definitions for the word ice that are not listed in
the other dictionaries, such as money from illegal ticket sales and diamonds and other jewelry.
Some of the OED definitions are “diamonds, jewelry, slang (org.U.S.),” “profit from illegal sale of
theatre or cinema tickets,” or “protection money.” The OED also contains the common definitions for
ice that are found in the other dictionaries. The various definitions for ice in the OED show how
the word has been used over time and that its meaning has changed throughout history.

The definition of ice was first used to describe frozen water in Beowulf. Over time authors have
changed the way the word is used. In 1884, Mark Twain uses ice as an expression of its cold nature:
“Howd you get your breakfast so early on the boat? It was kinder thin ice, but I says”. Jewelry or
diamonds are also referred to as ice, starting in
1906 by H. Green: “Her in evening clothes and a bunch of ice on her hands.” Ice also describes
money and confectionary treats. The original, cold description of the word has changed as the
culture of the world has changed. Today, ice can mean “a pebbly white form of methamphetamine that
is smoked and considered highly addictive.” The Pacific News Center carried a story about a high
school teacher who was arrested because “they discovered the drug 'ice' in his possession
and also learned he intended to sell it.” The word can also mean “to kill or to murder” as in a USA
Today listing of a “Sopranos” episode, “shot by fiancée Janice after an argument before her brother,
Tony, could ice him.”

From Beowulf until today, the word ice has developed in much the same way as the English language by
changing over time to adapt to the culture of the people using the word. English, the “super
language,” will continue to be the most widely spoken language in the world. The future of the word
ice will be determined by the way it is communicated. The Internet, e-mail, text messaging, books,
music and videos are areas where words in the English language are used and changed depending on who
is doing the communicating. In the future, the English language will include more slang usage of
the word ice over its original and exact forms. The meaning of ice can continue to grow and change
and so will the English language.












Dear Mr. Chaucer:

I have read your book, Canterbury Tales, that you submitted for publication and as editor of the
English textbook department for Prentice Hall, I am sorry to tell you that we cannot publish your
work in Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes. This was a very difficult decision on my part. Although
you are a talented writer, your stories are not what we are looking to put in our English textbooks.
I feel that you talk about greed and evil without mentioning the benefits of money. Also, the
references in your book to alcohol use and religion are not acceptable subjects for this textbook.

In the “Pardoner’s Prologue” on page 142 you write “Radix malorum est cupiditas” which means “Greed
is the root to all evil.” Also, on page 143 in the same story, you state that “Covetousness is both
the root and stuff of all I preach.” If you had the character mention giving money to the poor or
helping those in need, then the story would be appropriate for our textbook. Being greedy does not
always lead to being evil. We want the textbook to contain literature that gives the positive as
well as the negative examples of life.

In the Canterbury Tales, I don’t feel the references to alcohol and drunkenness in “The Pardoner’s
Tale” are appropriate for young students and cannot be included in the textbook. Some examples of
alcohol use from your story are “the man was slain, Upon his bench, face up, dead drunk again,”
(p.144), “were sitting in a tavern for a drink” (p.144) and “To fetch us bread and wine.” (p.147).
Also, you write about the men killing their friend and then taking a drink, “Now for a drink.” (p.
149). In our textbook, we are looking to show students examples of moral behavior. Students need
to learn about making good choices when it concerns alcohol use and abuse. If you rewrite this tale
in a positive way, then I will consider using it by itself in the next edition.

Some school systems will not purchase textbooks with religious themes. Canterbury Tales contains
stories told by people who are traveling on a religious pilgrimage. As an example, I refer you to
page 95, where you write “then people long to go on pilgrimages…of far off saints, hallowed and
sundry lands… to seek the holy blissful martyr.” On page 97, you mention one of the pilgrims
wearing a “medal of St. Christopher.” Then, you describe a Friar who had a “special license from
the Pope” and who gave absolutions from sin for money (p. 100). Also, the Parson is mentioned as
“rich in holy thought and work” and “Who truly knew Christ’s gospel and would preach it.” (p.106).
Students do not share the same religious beliefs and I must take this into consideration when
reading an author’s work.

Once again, I regret that we cannot include Canterbury Tales in Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes.
While your themes are inappropriate for our audience, your descriptive writing makes the characters
come alive. I would be happy to read the book again if you make changes based on my comments. If
not, then I suggest you try another publisher, possibly one who deals with college textbooks. Keep
writing as I hope to receive more of your work in the future. Thank you.

Matthew DeCilio













The game of polo is believed to be the oldest structured team sport ball game in the world. It is
played on horseback with mallets. According to the Oxford English Dictionary – 1550, the word polo
is derived from the Tibetan word “pulu” and has its origin in Persia. The World Book Encyclopedia
states that in 600 BC the first game was played between the Turkomans and the Persians who used polo
as a way to train the elite army of their king. A national sport played by royalty, polo spread
through Asia Minor, China and India. By 1869 the sport of polo was very popular in England having
been introduced there by the British military officers from India. Hounslow Heath was the site of
the first polo match between army regiments on English soil. The development of polo in England
shows the value the upper classes place on tradition and dedication.

The Hurlingham Polo Association is the governing body of the United Kingdom and makes and revises
the rules of the game. The Web site for the association contains some interesting facts. The rules
of polo state that the game cannot be played left-handed. Also, at half-time, it is the duty of the
spectators to replace the divots of turf. This is known as treading-in. While called ponies, polo
is actually played on horses, and 8 to 10 horses are needed to play in a top tournament. The polo
ball is made of hard plastic. Polo was once an Olympic sport from 1900 -1936. John Beresford, a
British polo player, was on the Foxhunters Hurlingham team that won the gold medal in 1900. There is
a movement to once again include polo in the 2012 Olympics.

Malcolm Borwick, one of England’s leading professional polo players, recently scored four goals for
the Chester, England team in a match at the Waterhall Polo Club in Barbados. In an article in the
Feb. 28, 2008 Nation News he said, “The game was great fun and the teams were evenly matched when it
came to the quality of horses. It is not often that visiting teams are given the same quality horses
as the hosts, but Waterhall is fantastic." He also said that the field at Waterhall was “world
class and he could not think of a more beautiful place in the entire world to play polo.” An
article in The Herald on March 1, 2008, discusses the stereotyping of polo as being “among
quintessential British society games.” To prove this wrong, Team Management International
organizes the Festival Cup on Perth racecourse where all are welcome to watch and picnic and if
selected, can play in the amateur polo match. Alan Kirk, a Glasgow surgeon, who participated in an
amateur match, said, “In many respects it was a mid-life crisis. It’s not an elite, rich man’s
sport. There are aspects of that, but the idea of it as toffee-nosed is ridiculous.” At the matches
there are people with Rolls Royces as well as those with used cars.

In a July 21, 2007 article in The Times Online (London), Sir Charles Williams, a multimillionaire
and polo fanatic, voiced his concern about the Argentinean players who dominated the British teams
at the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup in Cowdray Park in West Sussex. He declared, “I am going to fund an
all-English polo team and give four young professionals a fair crack at competing with the world’s
best.” Sir Charles’s new team, Apes Hill, lost the Queens Cup at Windsor, but they had only played
together once before that. “We have had great support so far,” said team member Tom Morley. “People
who watch us are very excited four Englishmen are playing together.”

References to polo can be found in British literature. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), an English poet
and author, wrote a short story “The Maltese Cat” which is about a polo tournament told from the
viewpoint of the polo pony. British author Francis Yeats-Brown (1886-1944) wrote The Lives of a
Bengal Lancer, a book about his experiences as a British Army officer. There is a chapter “Polo”
about his playing in polo matches in India. Yeats-Brown was a polo correspondent for The Times and
New York Herald. Another mention of polo is engraved on a stone tablet next to a polo ground in
Gilgit in Pakistan, near the site of the Silk Road: “Let other people play other things – the king
of games is still the game of king’s.” Polo has survived for centuries and is still played by the
royalty like Britain’s Prince Charles and his sons Harry and William. Queen Elizabeth and Prince
Philip are counted on to attend the Cartier International, a world-class polo tournament organized
by the Hurlingham Polo Association at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park. Over 25,000
spectators attend, most of them high society and very rich. This tournament is so important that no
other polo matches are played in England on that day.

Today, polo is popular all over the world from England to Argentina, the United States and Barbados.
The thought that only the wealthy can play polo is slowly changing. There is a demand for cheap
polo clubs across Britain. Polo ponies can now be rented and new clubs can be established within 30
miles of each other. Fun matches are being held at these clubs so the sport is being made more
accessible to anyone who desires to take it up. Arena polo is the future of polo. It is played
indoors with teams of three players and a larger, orange ball is bounced off the arena walls. Arena
polo is cheaper than regular polo and is a good spectator sport. There are many polo organizations
in Great Britain including the British Association of Professional Polo Players, the Hurlingham Polo
Association and the Schools and Universities Polo Association. David Wood, chief executive of the
Hurlingham Polo Association, declared in an article in Country Life, “Once addicted, you will only
stop playing polo when you are either broke or dead, usually dead.”
















Mr. President, the study of British Literature is important to the development of the well rounded
high school English student. The curriculum includes the study of the origins of the English
language, short stories, novels, and poems. At Catholic Memorial British Literature is part of a
larger English program. Students are exposed to the great authors of Beowulf, Animal Farm, and
Paradise Lost. They are required to analyze selections and write about the works that they are
studying. British literature captures the political feelings of the times in which it was written.
It would be a great loss to the students at Catholic Memorial if British Literature was removed from
the curriculum.

The current students in English 10 who are studying British Literature have learned how to decipher
the Old English of Beowulf and to recognize iambic pentameter in The Canterbury Tales. They have
been exposed to a variety of British authors and poets through their British Literature course. One
student, Thomas Coughlin, is troubled by William Shakespeare’s lack of concern for morals. He
believes that Shakespeare’s writing does not reflect moral lessons for today’s youth. Thomas C.
said, “in parts of your sonnets like in sonnet 29 you say “Wishing me like to one more rich in hope”
(5) saying that he wished that he had hope for himself which all people should have, this does not
teach a good moral for children who need to believe in themselves to succeed in life.” British
literature can be related to many things. There are mentions of sports in British literature. For
example, John Cooper found that the sport of rugby is included in songs such as the “Irish National
Anthem, as well as in books. He found an entry in the OED, which stated that the word was first
used in literature in 1897 in the book Typewriter Girl, by Olive Pratt Rayner. “As you can see this
diverse sport has made its way through literature not just in one country of Ireland but also into
England. So, just as it is popularly played in Ireland and England, it is also popularly written
about in songs, books, and articles in the news,” said John C.

The Weymouth High School English Department Web site has a link to a pdf file
(http://www.weymouth.ma.us/CMS200Sample/uploadedfiles/Required%20Reading%20Gr%209-11.pdf) that shows
the standard, honors and advanced placement courses. British Literature is offered to all students
in the junior year and students in each section read different selections. In the ninth grade, the
students read Romeo and Juliet, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities. According to the
North Quincy High School English Web site
students study British Literature in the senior year on both the standard and honors levels. The
course for both sections is a chronological survey of the literature of the British Isles from the
Medieval period to the modern day including Shakespeare, Hardy, Yeats, and Dylan Thomas. The ninth
and tenth graders are offered selections from Shakespeare and Dickens. At Fontbonne Academy in
Milton, British Literature is offered as a junior honors course. The Web site
Class%20expectations.htm) explains that the course is a
chronological study of the literature of Great Britain. The students learn about the historical
context and various characteristics of the following movements in British Literature: Anglo-Saxon,
Medieval, The English Renaissance, The Jacobean Era, The Restoration, and the Romantic Age. The
students must critically analyze and express ideas both verbally and in writing.

It is unfortunate that only a minority of students at Fontbonne Academy can experience the benefits
of studying British Literature especially considering that the British Literature teacher supports
the study of British Literature. Fontbonne British Literature teacher Barbara Ryan, said, “British
Literature is the foundation of modern literature. The contributions of author’s like Jane Austen,
Charles Dickens, and Geoffrey Chaucer cannot be ignored. British Literature should remain an
integral part of today’s high school curriculum.”

I wanted an opinion from someone in the British educational field so I e-mailed Sean Coughlan,
education reporter for the BBC news. I asked him to comment on British Literature as a required
course in the English departments of American high schools. As of today, he has not responded to my

Mr. President, I hope that I have made a strong case for keeping the British Literature course in
the curriculum at Catholic Memorial. As you can see, the study of British Literature is an
important part of the English department at other schools as well. Both student and teachers are in
favor of continuing to offer British Literature to the sophomore class. The students need to be
exposed to the writings of British authors and poets to prepare them for college. I have personally
benefited from taking British Literature this year.