English 10: Writing Portfolio

 

Catholic Memorial High School

 

2007-2008

   
   
   
   
   
Research  
   
Creative Writing  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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  When people think of the word "fight", they usually think of battle and struggle.
It's true that can be a definition of the word, but in some ways the word could mean emotion,
because it can invoke so many different ones. Horror, sadness, fear, or maybe even excitement, can
describe the word "fight".

The first use of the word (that we know of) dates back to 959 A.D. This easily makes it the one
of the oldest word in our language. It's no surprise however, considering the word describes
something so ancient, so immortal, so deeply rooted in not just our history, but our nature. Is it
not true that such a word, which is almost as old as its own language, should evolve over the course
of its 1048 years of use? Is it not true that the language itself will evolve, too? So why
can't we summarize, generalize, and describe that evolution from one word? Well we can and we
will.

What book, could be so ancient that it would include the first use of the word "fight"
recorded? Why, Beowulf, of course. Beowulf is not only the oldest writing in the English language,
but the oldest Epic ever recorded. The language doesn' even sound like English, simply because
it's written in the language's oldest form. It is a shame that all we know about the
author is that he was probably a monk who "christianized" the book by taking out all the
pagan references. Also, he probably, didn't create the story, but heard told by professional
story tellers, and wrote them down. Knowing that the main character is a man who seeks fame and
glory by slaying demons and monsters, saving damsels in distress, and becomin king of an entire
land, it's no surprise, that "fight" would be included in the text. The first quote
of "fight" is actually the first sentence of the book: "Hwaet we Gar-Dena in
gear-degum theod-cyninga thrym gefrunon, hu oa athelingas ellen fremedon."

The quote in Beowulf uses the verb form of the word, which is "fremedon". The noun form
would be "feoht", or "feohtan". The word evolved over time, and during the time
of Shakespeare(an avid user of the word), was spelled either "fiht", or "fight".
The word has remained remarkably unchanged over the course of its approximate 1,000 year history,
which is extremely unusual compared to other words of the same age. However, in all of that time,
the definition has changed even less. It only has three dead meanings, and all are in some way
relevant to today's meaning.

The word"fight" is one of the very few words which have remained relatively unchanged.
My only guess as to why that would be, is that since the word means something so basic, so
permanent, so relevant to our daily lives, there was never any need to change, or update the
definition. Some words, die and so do many languages. However, i sincerely don't believe that
"fight" is one of those words. This word will always exist in English, as long as it
exists in human nature, which is to say that it will probably only die with the language.
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Chaucer,

Due to recent budget cuts and the editing of our Prentice Hall British Tradition English text book,
we are going to have to regretfully remove your literature from the book. We feel that your
literature does not quite fit in with the other writings found in the book for various reasons. As
high quality as it is, your literature has difficulty capturing the attention of young minds. They
cannot focus, and children cannot learn what they cannot focus on. For the most part, The Cantebury
Tales can be very immature, convoluted, and disrespectful, more specifically to senior citizens.

First of all, some of your works are just to immature for children at this level. We can tolerate
fantasy, but some stories, such as that of Chanticleer in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale”, are just too
childish for impressionable sophomores to take seriously. In all seriousness, Chanticleer is a
talking rooster: “Madam, he said, I beg you not to take offense, but by the Lord, I had a dream so
terrible I had to scream.”(122) He narrates his entire tale. Not only that, but every animal in the
story has the ability to speak: “All birds and animals could speak and sing” (61). The story sounds
as if it written for little children. Animals don’t dream, and they certainly don’t talk, Mr.
Chaucer.

Another reason is that there are too many coincidental, inconvenient, convoluted plot twists in
these tales. Just like before, it can be tolerated to a certain extent. However, in your stories, it
is overdone. Again, it sounds more like a fairytale, or children’s book then a legitimate author’s
work of art. A good example, for instance, is in the “The Pardoner’s Tale”. At the end of the story,
the two men who team up on, kill and rob they third man, conveniently drink from the third man’s
poison wine which was to be served to them anyway: “Now for a drink. Settle down, and let’s be
merry”(307). Clever, but much too fantastic Mr. Chaucer. It doesn’t help that each and every story
is made up of little adventures and episodes, which continuously drag on. No stories feel as though
they will reach a resolution, and when they finally do, the reader’s interest is gone.

A third, extremely “sensitive” issue is the apparent disrespectful, and misrepresentation of
elderly, and senior citizens. In the Pardoner’s Tale, an old man plans, and participates in the
murder of a young man: (As you attack, I’ll up and put my dagger through his back!” (249-250). All
for the sake of gold. Further proof of this mistreatment is in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”. In the
book an old woman is constantly and relentlessly disregarded as the “ugliest woman alive”. The main
character of the book actually tries to run away from her, almost as if she was a monster.
Disrespectful to say the least, Mr. Chaucer.

It may not sound like it, but we here at Prentice Hall do in fact enjoy your work. Though many
children have trouble respecting your literature, we at Prentice Hall hold your literature in high
regards. We recognize that you tell intriguing stories; all while forming perfect sentences of
iambic pentameter, and rhyming throughout the entire writing. We appreciate the time, effort and
ambition exhibited by you in “Canterbury Tales”. Your undeniable talent has not gone unnoticed. For
following editions, we are considering including some of your other works which we enjoyed, such as
“The Book of Duchess”, and “Troilus and Criseyde”. We also are considering your “Treatise on the
Astrolabe”. Although this letter may not be very encouraging, we here at Prentice Hall ask that you
not get discouraged, and that you continue to submit work for consideration by our editors.

Good Luck,

Prentice Hall Literature

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The word “Football” for most Americans represents the sport which the rest of the world considers
“American Football”. The origin of the name comes from our game of football being a variation of the
English sport “rugby”. In itself, rugby is a variation of the game we know of as “soccer”, though in
the U.K., it is known as football, and so the name skipped a generation in a way. All according to
the OED Dictionary. Although the sport was first broadcast in the U.K. in 1982, its actual arrival,
however, was in 1984, when 8 pre-season games were played at Wimbledon Stadium. American Football’s
lack of popularity could possibly be attributed to a more modernized, less violent mindset adopted
by the British.

American Football, as stated earlier is a variation of a variation, and its history can be traced
back to the U.K., in rugby football. Both sports each have origins in various U.K. codes of football
dating from the mid 19th century. American football as we know it today is mainly given credit to
Walter Camp, who brought about many rule changes, and revisions, and is widely considered the
“Father of American Football”, according the NFL’s official website.. The beginning of the NFL
started with 10 business men holding a meeting in the showroom of a car dealership, changing rules
and regulations. Eventually, their teams made up what is today the league we know today. It even has
a recent branch in the U.K.

Today, there are numerous leagues of football, including some in Europe. The new NFLU.K. is a
British branch of our own NFL as mentioned above. It is struggling at the moment, with the sport
being somewhat of a niche in the U.K. It is unable to compete with more popular sports, such as
soccer, tennis, and the very similar rugby, possibly because of the violence and brutality of the
sport. Widely considered one of the greatest teams in England are the London Olympians. They formed
in 1984, and are one of the British leagues founding teams. They have the longest recorded winning
streak of any British team, according to NFL U.K..co.

Easily one of the most popular, if not the most popular sports in the U.S., the sport does not
share the same following with the rest of the world. While there are foreign leagues, they are often
ignored, or unheard of when compared to actual football. After viewing the “sport” page on four U.K.
newspapers’ websites, the The Mirror, The Sun, and The Times all had no section for American
Football, The Telegraph being the only newspaper to follow the sport. This is common throughout most
of the world. American Football does not experience the same “globalization” that regular football
has seen. Even The Telegraph’s page was a little outdated, and underdeveloped. In articles written
by Telegraph “staff and agencies” the only news reported other than Bret Favre’s retirement was the
Giants (painfully) ending the Pats’ undefeated streak with a super bowl win.


The sport’s future is somewhat cloudy, since, like the country it has deep roots in, the sport has
seen its ups and downs. Given a little thought, many parallels can be drawn between war and
football, given the sport’s strategy and physicality. Elements of the game such as the violence, the
fight for territory, and the similarities between equipment such as helmets, padding and armor, have
very warlike undertones about them. It shares this common quality with the ancient country it
originates from, Britain having seen its fair share of wars. The sport’s popularity in Britain (or
lack thereof) says a lot about the mindset of British people as a whole. It can be said that
Britain’s dislike for American football can symbolize how far they’ve come from their old ways. They
are a less violent people now. While they still fight occasionally, they are more civil and more
tolerant in their ways. This is why the sport’s future in the U.K. is so

   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



As things are in sophomore English, we students are learning about British Literature. From the
ancient legends, such as “Beowulf”, to the more modern works, such as “Dover Beach”, and everywhere
in between. In the grand scheme of the CM English program, English 10 is British Literature, while
9th graders study World Literature, 11th graders study American Literature, and seniors study
Contemporary Literature. From my experiences in British Literature, I can say that it is a
productive, and progressive class, which is definitely necessary to prepare us students for English
11. Seeing as how necessary the class, I must disagree with our new president, and say that I
believe English 10 should remain as is.

To help my case, I have examined some students’ portfolios, citing changes and progress over the
course of the year. Brad Jones wrote in his first essay “The word “democracy” is a very old word,
however it is fairly new to the English language, taken directly from the Greeks during the
Renassiance”. This was written in a paper which was meant to trace the origin of words back to their
earliest use in English. However, Brad’s ability to go above and beyond the original objective, and
trace back further says something about what British Literature is teaching us to do. It is teaching
us to go above and beyond. When many students’ early work, it is obvious that some students had
trouble making connections to themes in the literature studied, and some had trouble with writing
and grammar. However, when one examines later work, there is a drastic improvement over their
writing abilities, grammar, and also vocabulary. Even our new students from Korea, who
(understandably so) originally had trouble with grammar, made noticeable strides in their ability to
use our language. So in this sense, it is obvious that British Literature is doing something right.

One question you may be asking yourself is “What other schools have British Literature in their
curriculum?” Well, I have indeed looked into that, and British Literature is in fact used in other
local high schools. Two of the numerous schools are Fontbonne, a catholic, all girls school, and the
O’ Bryant, a exam school further in town. I also can say that I have two friends who attend the both
of those schools. According to them, the British Literautre course is a little difficult, however
extremely rewarding and productive. The O’ Bryant teaches the course for sophomores, as we do, and
is not too much different then our own British Literature course.

After doing some research of my own, I found that Fontbonne academy teaches Brit. Literature to its
students, albeit in a bit of a different manner. After speaking with the teacher through e-mails,
she said that she found British Literature to be “very invigorating because it explores a new
variety of text from the Shakespearean era, through to modern day literature.” She felt that it was
“a challenging, but necessary subject for students to study”, and also expressed enthusiasm about
the fact that here at CM we teach it to sophomores, instead of juniors, as they do at Fontbonne.

I hope it is clear that there is no reason why English 10 shouldn’t remain British Literature. It
obviously has taught us students more about the history of our language, and the history of our
literature. It helps students to learn to make connections to themes, how to read and comprehend
better, while improving and enlarging grammar and vocabulary. Local schools are supportive of the
subject, and Britsh author Simon Jenkins, who edited the Times from ‘90-’92 was quoted as saying “I
think it’s great that sophomores in the U.S. are studying British Literature. The literature is
great because it changes with the times, and is rich with British History and culture. I definitely
support the course.” We shouldn’t waste money on building a whole new program to replace one which
is already doing what it is supposed to be doing.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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