English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  It is pretty sweet to see how much the word sweet has changed over time. I think it is fun to be
able to see all the different definitions that extend to the very beginning of English literature:
over a thousand years ago. When you hear about things being sweet it is most commonly used to
express the idea that “something is pleasing to the taste,” but even though there are different ways
to use the word it is still most commonly used this way. But this word has changed numerously over
the course of time much like the English Language.

The word sweet was first used approximately 1005 years ago. From research it is possible that
the word sweet was actually first used in Beowulf. This is reasonable because it would fit the time
screen and because it is such a common word. Even still if you were to read the sentence in Beowulf
where the word “swetne” is used, it is clear it still had the same implied meaning. When this word
“swetne” was used it meant “pleasing to the sense of taste.” It is not coincidental that the next
time the word “sweet” was used it meant something different. The next time it was used was in the
year 1890, it was used in the sentence “…ara swetestena…” In this sentence it is obvious that the
word is spelled differently, but it also means “pleasing to the sense of smell.” But even after the
definition had been changed it stilled was compliant because the word “sweet” can also mean that.

In the Oxford English Dictionary there are many definitions for the word sweet. But if you were
to compare it to a regular dictionary you would see that they practically have the same definitions.
If you compare two modern dictionaries such as; The American Heritage and the Webster’s New World,
you will see that in both the most popular definition for “sweet” is “Pleasing to the taste, having
the taste of sugar.” But recently in the past 10 years or so, the new generation has used the word
“sweet” as a way to so emotion, for example “ Oh yea that’s sweet!” When people say this it is a
slang way of saying “Yea that’s awesome!” That is one thing I noticed that neither dictionary’s have
but later in time may. There are a few definitions though in the Oxford English that I have not seen
in any other dictionary. An example of one definition would be “Free from offensive or disagreeable
taste or smell.”

Two very notable authors that have been credited with using the word are Geoffrey Chaucer and
Rudyard Kipling. In the Oxford English Chaucer was credited numerous times with using the word, each
time he was credited for the word he used it in a different meaning. One of the meanings Chaucer
used the word “sweet” for was “Lovely, or charming appearance to the sight.” And the other another
time he was credited it was for a completely opposite meaning of the word. In 1899 Rudyard Kipling
used it in the novel “From Sea to Sea II.” The way he used it was “Dear to a person himself” the
example of how Kipling used it was “…and you bet your sweet life there’s a holy influence…” But the
very first time the word was used in the language was in the great epic poem of Beowulf. In the
story of Beowulf the word has a meaning of “pleasing to the sense of taste,” which explains why most
of the dictionaries you find today will have that definition as its main meaning.

On October 28th, 2007 the Boston Globe used the word “sweet” in an article about Hillary
Clinton. The article was entitled “Clinton praised by husband in Harlem.” On page A12 the 589th word
used was sweet. In the paragraph it is used as “pleasing to the ear.” The actual sentence it
performed in was “…where they were greeted by the sweet sounds of the Abyssinian Baptist Church
choir and the clapping of its congregation.” This shows yet another way the word “sweet” can be
used, and another way the definition can be used as a sense.

As you can see between the two modern definitions there is still one main definition that is
used in all modern dictionaries and that the word seems to have maintained one definite definition
in all of it 1000 years. It seems to me that, that would be an accomplishment because I am sure that
some of the other words that were used 1000 years ago do not have the same meaning now as they did
then. Now wasn’t that pretty sweet?










Dear Mr. Monk,
I am sorry to have to be the person to inform you, but with this up coming
year we have had to make some budget cuts. Due to these budget cuts we have had to make the text
book shorter by omitting one of the authors. Though it did take some time to figure it out I am
sorry to say that it was not to hard of a decision. That is why I am sorry to inform you that next
year we will not be publishing you work of Beowulf in our text book. As I have matured and grown
older, I have come to like your work very much. Your work is amazing when it is read by an adult,
but by a young teenager it does not appeal. There where three deciding factors in why we choose to
cut you: the first is it is too violent, the second is that it is to fantastical and the third is
that there are just not enough children characters in the story.

Here at Prentice Hall Literature we try not to approve of violence all that much. We are aware that
there are other stories included in our text book that are also violent, but we feel as if Beowulf
brings a new extreme to it. Beowulf is full of unrelenting graphic violence. Through out the entire
poem Beowulf is consistently in epic battles, and just when you think the battles may be done there
is another one. An example of this graphic violence may be “There was uproar in Heorot. She had
snatched their trophy, Grendle’s bloodied hand.”(Line 1302) The description of Grendle’s arm
hanging on the wall is a little to graphically violent for our text, along with “The body gaped at
the stroke dealt to it after death: Beowulf cut the corpse’s head off.” (Line 1588)

The second reason influencing our decision is the fact that we think your poem of “Beowulf” may be
to fantastical. Much like this story being to violent, there are just too many fantastical images in
the story. There have been many great novels that include fantastical elements in it, but with as
many as Beowulf has, we believe that it is just too much. With Grendle and Grendles Mother in the
story there was more then enough elements of fantasticalness, but when the dragon come into the
story it goes overboard in a way. An example of how this story became to fantastical would be “It
was a task for four to hoist Grendle’s head on a spear.” (Line 1637)

Lastly the story of Beowulf is not relatable enough for the students. We feel there are just not
enough children characters in the story. There were really only a few children in the story, and
those of which were Wealtheow’s. To add along with this they were only mentioned in the story for a
brier moment before they were given to Beowulf. “Be acclaimed for the strength, for kindly guidance
to these two boys and your bounty will be sure.” (Line 1219) Besides these two boys, there was only
talk of there being a couple more children, and there was a brief passage about Beowulf as a child.
Aside from these few there were just not enough children, which our students prefer because they are
able to relate to them in age.

Once again I am very sorry to have to be the person to inform you of this. As I have grown older
I have grown to love your magnificent work of Beowulf. I must have read it 10 times myself, and I
still plan on reading it 10 more times. As for you, I think if you tried to get Beowulf published in
an older class’s text book, like a seniors, there would be no problem because they are mature enough
to understand that this is a magnificent peace of work and not just a story in another language.

Best wishes,
~Prentice Hall















The game of soccer can be found in almost every corner of the globe today. This is not new. The
sport of soccer is only known by that name in the United Sates, everywhere else it is played it is
known as football. Soccer had been played all around the world for three thousand years. According
to the OED the word football was first used in 1468. But in 1863 the sport of soccer really started
to take its form when it came to England. At first it had been a combination between football and
rugby football, but when the two split the first real football, or soccer, association began. Now
the sport of soccer is the number one sport in all of Europe. The development of soccer in the UK is
paralleled the fast growth of British culture throughout the world.

The sport of soccer in England is almost the same as it is anywhere else you will find it
throughout the world. Maybe the one difference though is that in England and everywhere else in the
world it is known as Football, not to be confused with American Football. Besides the difference in
the name British Football and American soccer can be said to be the same thing. In fact the USA
soccer team sometimes plays against the England team. According to the London Mirror the last time
the two played against each other was in 2005, when the English defeated the US by a score of two to
one. Recently there have been talks for the two to play again this summer.

Throughout the entire World there are soccer organizations. But perhaps the two most popular are
the US’ MLS and England’s Premier League. According to the Premier League’s official website, or
PLW, one of the teams in England’s Premier League is Manchester United. The club is by far the most
dominant of all the clubs, having won the championship nine times in their history. The team was
first formed in 1878 as Newton Health, but in 1902 the organization changed its name to the
Manchester United Red Devils. Also according to the Premier Leagues official website, the team’s
first championship victory was in 1952. A few years after their first championship, they became the
very first English team to compete in the European Cup. They would reach the semi-finals in the
tournament before losing to Madrid. Now in 2008, the Manchester United Red Devils are once again on
top, according to the PLW, with a high of 67 points scored in the season.

There are not only professional teams in England but there are also youth leagues. In England there
is a national under 17 team. According to the Football Leagues official website, this team is made
up of players of or under the age of 17 that are national citizens of England. The team competes in
a league called the Football League Youth Alliance, where other under 17 teams compete. There are
also leagues for under age players up to the under 21 league. From these teams many of the players
are scouted by the Premier League, which is why the Football League Youth Alliance is said to be a
feeder league to the Premier League.

There are many famous English Football players in the world today. Possibly the most famous of them
all is David Beckham. For a decade Beckham has been making news, for his enormous skill in the game.
Today in the London Mirror there is even bigger news about Beckham, the paper states that Beckahm
will earn his 100th cap for England. A cap is an international appearance. He will join the
illustrious group and become only the fifth England player to reach the milestone. Beckham thought
his international career had been ended by Steve McClaren a few months ago, but the other day when
Beckham received a call from McClaren he was asked to come back to play and gain his 100th cap.
Beckham said that he thought his career in England was over, so when he got the phone call he was
“shocked and hurt by it.” But no matter what David Beckham will receive his 100th cap on Wednesday.
One of the most famous British Movies about football is “Bend it Like Beckham.” This movie was
released in 2003, and immediately became a hit. It was nominated for Best Picture and Best Original
Screen Play. According to a yahoo movie review the movie is about a young Indian girl whose family
moved to England. There she tries to chase her dreams in becoming a soccer player in England, just
like her favorite played David Beckham. But because of her religion and old fashioned culture about
the role of women her parents are strict and persuasive in trying to get her to follow the Sikh
religion more and not follow her dreams. The girl is forced to make a decision between her dreams
and her religion.

The sport of soccer, or football, has been popular in England for over a thousand years and it
shows no signs of stopping. I believe that this sport will go on being the number one sport, because
it’s not only a fun sport to play but it is also a good spectator sport. If it does happen to become
less popular I don’t believe it will be by much. At the rate it’s climbing in the world though I
believe it will be the most popular sport for another thousand years to come.






Mr. President

As of now the statues quo for English 10 programs is British Literature. That is what most school
teaches their sophomores, and that is what we have been taught as well. British Literature is not
only important when being taught to sophomores but it is also very important in years to come. This
year I have learned many important things, from the every first piece of British Literature to some
of the most famous poets ever. But without British Literature being taught I would not have learned
any of this, That is why I believe that British Literature should remain the program that English 10
students are being taught.

Throughout the year my peers and I have had to write one research paper every quarter. If you were
to look at there papers you could see that it is very clear that the majority of them have learned
from the course. In Brendan Mcnabbes first essay, on the word “Make,” he is quoted by saying “71% of
the people surveyed said that they could not define the work make because it was such and easy word
that it was hard to come up with the right words.” Another prime example would be Lance Murray. In
his essay on Hockey he quoted with saying “According to the OED this word hockey has gone as far as
1555 in England.” Lastly is Christopher Masterson. He is quoted in his paper on Croquet by saying
“England’s first experience with the game of croquet was in 1851, when the sport made the short trip
over from Ireland, says the World Book.” As you can see these three students seem to have an
abundance of knowledge on their subjects, and they are not the only ones.

Some of the other local Catholic High schools also teach British Literature to their students. A
few of the most notable schools are Mt. Alvernia, Boston College High School and Newton Country Day.
Unfortunately neither Mt. Alvernia nor Boston College High teaches British Literature to their
sophomores. In fact both of them seem to think it is better taught as a junior class. Instead they
both teach their sophomore students American History. I still believe that it is better taught as a
sophomore course though. My reasoning for this is because American Literature did not come until
after British Literature. So you should probably learn the great British Literature before hand,
because that will set up American Literature the next year. On the other hand Newton Country Day
teaches British Literature to their sophomores as well. As you can see it is not only us who teaches
it to the sophomore class.

There is no other person who knows British Literature better then your own teacher. Your teachers
have an abundance of knowledge on the subject and course it’s self. That is why I felt it
appropriate to get an interview with a British Literature teacher. The teacher I choose to interview
was Mrs. Demoura. In my interview with her she said that “British Literature is a passion of hers.”
She also said that “juniors and seniors would probably be more appreciative,” of the subject. Though
I agree with Mrs. Demoura that British Literature is very important, I still stand by my opinion
that it is right to be taught to sophomores.

There are thousands of British authors in the world. Some that go unnoticed at times are those that
write for the newspapers. I felt it appropriate to ask a real Englishman if British Literature
should be taught in high school. The author I wrote to was Jack Malvern, of the London Times. I ask
Mr. Malvern the same question I asked Mrs. Demoura “Do you believe British Literature should be
taught in your sophomore year of high school?” Malvern replied saying that “he is very proud of his
British roots and believed that it was a necessity to learn of it.” He like Mrs. Demoura said that
he was not sure as to if it should be taught sophomore year, but he then said “I can see why you are
being taught of this so early.” Malvern was of great help in backing my opinion; even though he had
his doubts I still believe it is the right decision.

British Literature is the right subject to be taught in your sophomore class of English. Without
British Literature there would not have been an American Literature. Or even if there was it would
not have been as great as it was, because the amazing works of British Literature helped influence
later writing. That is why if you are going to teach the writings in order it would be a wise
decision to make it you English ten courses.