English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  The word king has had a strong reign in the English language since the very
beginning. Many people if asked would say that the word king is only a few hundred years old when
it has actually been around since the ninth and tenth centuries, around when the language first
started. This word even existed before the English language did. This may be confusing but it
actually is possible. For example, this word could have come from any of the languages that English
was derived from such as Latin, and other West Germanic languages. This word is a perfect example
of our language’s history and how it has evolved over the years. The word king is first recorded in
the English language as “cyning”. The word king tells us that in many aspects the words of the
English language have changed a lot but the meanings of the words have not.

Many people if asked would say that the word king came to be in the English language when the first
British kings started to rule over the land. Many would also say and when asked did say that a king
is “a man who rules a country and has complete control over that country and the people in it”.
This is close to what the word originally meant. In the beginning the word meant “The male
sovereign ruler of an independent state, whose position was purely hereditary.” The title first
appeared with the names of the first Anglian and Saxon tribe leaders and clan leaders who invaded
Britain. This means that the word didn’t imply that the “king” had the same degree of power that we
associate with the word today. When I asked people what the first thing that came to their mind
when they heard the word king was, most said, something along the lines of, royalty. In fact one
person said the word royalty and all but one person’s word that came to mind had to do with royalty.
This means eighty percent had something to do with royalty and only twenty percent did not. I find
these results to be very interesting. It seems that because the word is easy to use, has an easy
definition, and is very easy to spell it will live on for a long time in the English language. I
believe that in the future the word will not change much in spelling or meaning and will not go
extinct. This word is an example of how definitions of words of the past can be different,
associated differently, and even similar to definitions we associate with words today.

Foreign language speakers were also asked about this word. When asked one hundred percent of the
surveyed found it to be an easy word to use in a sentence. All used the word correctly and used it
in the traditional sense. I think that because of these results it is pretty clear that the word
king will live on in the English language virtually unchanged through time and will survive even the
influence of other languages on ours.

The word king made some changes over time not so much in the meaning but the word itself and the
way it is used. For example, the word has changed in spelling a lot. It has gone from “cyning” to
“cing” to “kyng” then finally to our word today king with just a few more different spellings in
between. The word started out with the definition of “The male sovereign ruler of an independent
state, whose position was purely hereditary.” Today the most recent meaning is “A male sovereign or
monarch; a man who holds by life tenure, and usually by hereditary right, the chief authority over a
country and people.” The meanings are very similar however the word has been used differently.

In the beginning the word was only used to talk about a person mainly a man that was
king but soon took on new uses and according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) even at one time
referred to a women who acted like a king being called a king. After this the word became
frequently used in the naming of animals and even rarely with humans too. After this as it became
more common for people to have the name king the word was used to stress someone having a lot of
power. The final ad latest way the word was and is used is to express the great importance or value
that something has and how it dominates over other things. For example, “Cotton is king” or “Canada
is a nation where the best-seller is king”. This goes to show that even though the definition may
not have change much the use of the word can and has changed greatly.

Many authors if not all have used the word king. Some interesting authors however are William
Shakespeare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir William Blackstone, George Orwell,
William Makepeace Thackeray, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, George Eliot, and John Milton. The OED
says that Shakespeare used the word in 1591 in Henry the sixth verse 66 when he said: “the lawful
heire of Edward King, the Third of that descent.” and in 1602 in Hamlet verse 123 when he said,
“There’s such Diuinity doth hedge a king.” The Oxford says that Longfellow also used the word when
he wrote, “… laughed when a man was crowned, or a breach was made in the king-row.” These are just
a few of the many authors that have used the word king and some in an interesting way.

Research was also done for new uses of this word on a website called EBSCO. No authors since 2000
have used the word in any unique ways. In fact the word mostly came up as a persons last name.
This just helps the theory that the word will not change much in years to come and that king will
not take on any more new meanings or uses.

A lot about the word king has changed in the many years since the English language was first
written. And the word I have chosen that has ruled over the language since the beginning is a
perfect example of how the language has changed. The word’s meaning has not changed much but the
words spelling and use has. This mirrors the English language because the language and spellings
have all changed yet the same words still exist and are used today.














Dear Mr. William Shakespeare,
I sincerely regret to inform you that we cannot include your play, Macbeth, in our next edition of
the Prentice Hall Literature textbook due to budget cuts. This was a very hard decision to make and
took much time and consideration to come to this conclusion. You were pitted against other greats
such as the “monk” who wrote Beowulf, Chaucer, Thomas Malory, and “Master Anonymous” the author of
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Although this is a great work of literature you already have many
others in the book that represent your work in a more positive way. Firstly, the main reason I am
cutting this play is that Macbeth is not the best representation of iambic pentameter for someone
who is supposed to be the master of it. Secondly, it was much too bloody and gory for a high school
textbook. Lastly, I felt you over used foreshadowing and made the play a little too predictable.
For these reasons I do not feel that Macbeth is very useful to our textbook.

My first reason was that the iambic pentameter in your poem was anything but impressive.
For example in Act 5 scene III Macbeth says “Where got'st thou that goose look?” and in Act 1
scene IV when Duncan says “The sin of my ingratitude even now” It was disappointing to see the poor
iambic pentameter in this poem when I have seen such great iambic pentameter in your other works
like your sonnets and Romeo and Juliet. I feel that the said works are much better to suit you in
our new textbook. The play seems sloppy and quickly put together because of this.

Then next reason is that the play was too explicit. The entire play was based on murder
and collaboration. The main character is a hero for killing an enemy and cutting him in half.
“Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps, and fix'd his head upon our
battlements.” He then goes on to kill the king in order to become king himself. From this point he
kills the people he framed for the murder of the king then kills a whole family and attempts to kill
many others. The collaboration occurs between Macbeth and his wife. The witches also lied to him.
Jarold Ramsey agrees that this splay is too perverse when he says “At the first of the play,
Macbeth's "manly" actions in war are not contradictory to a general code of
humaneness or "kind-ness" irrespective of gender: but as the play develops, his moral
degeneration is dramatized as a perversion of a code of manly virtue, so that by the end he seems to
have forfeited nearly all of his claims on the race itself.”

Finally there was too much foreshadowing in this play for my taste. For example, the
weather, the bloody murder in act I, the witches’ prophecies, and Macduff’s suspicion of Macbeth.
The weather tells when something bad is going to happen. The bloody murder foreshadows the end of
the story and how it ends gruesomely. The witches’ prophecies each foretell that Macbeth will
become Thane of Cawdor then King “Second Witch ‘All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of
Third Witch ‘All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!’”
Then they tell what is to happen with the Birnam Wood, and Macbeth falling to Macduff. Macduff’s
suspicion of Macbeth also tells that he will oppose Macbeth in the end. Evelyn C. Leeper agreed
with this argument when she wrote that, “Though the writing is good, it is alas all too

You have my utmost and sincerest apology for not being able to include your play in our
next edition of the Prentice Hall Literature textbook. Do not worry however because many other
works of yours have been included and there is no denying that as our company expands we will most
likely be able to afford to have your play included in a later version of the textbook.
Sincerely yours,

Thomas C. Coughlin











American Football is called this because it was invented in the United States of America.
According to the World Book Encyclopedia American Football is a sport that is played chiefly in the
U.S. and Canada. The encyclopedia also says that “Football began to develop in the mid 1800’s, when
a game similar to soccer was played in the Eastern United States.” and it also says “[t]he most
influential figure in modernizing football was Walter Camp, who played for Yale University from
1876-1882. During the 1880’s Camp led the colleges to adopt rules that increased the game’s action
and competition.” Football is an adapted form of the two British sports, Rugby and Soccer,
combined. Today in Great Britain, American Football is played on both amateur and professional
levels. The fact that two British sports evolved into a new one in an ex-British colony, and the
fact that Britain now plays that sport can relate to the country’s development in literature. This
development can ultimately be compared to the development of British literature.

British American Football is exactly the same as American Football. There are no
special rules to set it apart from traditional American Football. Canada, a former British colony,
has a slight difference from American Football. Canadian Football has twelve players on the field
at all times when American Football has only eleven.

The professional American Football league in Great Britain is called the British
American Football League or the BAFL. The professional league is split into three divisions much
like football is split into two divisions in America. According to the BAFL official website there
is the Premier, BAFL 1, and BAFL 2. The BAFL official website also states that there are eight
teams in the premier league, twelve teams in BAFL1, and twenty seven teams in BAFL 2. The whole
BAFL has 47 teams in it. A notable player of the London Blitz (a team in the Premier league) is Tom
Britton, number 5, the starting QB (quarter back). Last year he led his team to the BritBowl and
was victorious.

According to an article in the London Times it is estimated that fifty thousand
people play football in Britain. This includes all college and amateur players. There are youth
and junior American Football leagues in Britain. There is also the BUAFL, which stands for the
British University American Football League. According to the official BAFL website the youth and
junior leagues combined have 37 teams. Another thing that is very popular in England, and maybe
even just as popular as real football is, their flag football leagues. Flag football exists in
America, too, and is just a non-contact version of the sport. There are four leagues. They are
Flag, Flag Youth, Flag Junior, and Flag Cadet. In all four of these leagues combined there are 53

It comes as no surprise that American Football in Britain is nowhere near as popular
as it is in America. There is basically no news coverage of the sport American Football. The only
news organization that had articles on American Football was the London Times. Even this notable
organization had very little on American Football. What is even more interesting, though, is that
there was more coverage on Football in America then there was on American Football in Britain. The
main article mentioned Super Bowl XLIII. It was called “Get fit for: American Football”. It spoke
of the great upset when the New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants and then explained some
techniques used by football players to get into shape and stay in shape. Another article entitled
“How Dolphins are not alone in making waves on South Coast.” Unfortunately the link had expired.
The gist of the article however, was that the league is growing and changing. It also mentioned
that BBC Channel 4 television station stopped airing American Football. It went on to say that this
cancellation of American Football would not deter its growth in both size and popularity. The first
article mentioned said “Tonight the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in the Super
Bowl, the centrepiece of the National Football League season. In the UK the sport is increasing in
popularity and more than 50,000 adults in England play it regularly, according to Sport England.”
This shows just how popular the sport is becoming in Britain and should continue to grow in the

Football is an influence in British literature as well. For example there is a
writer named Michael Freeman who wrote the book “Bloody Sundays” “Inside the Dazzling
Rough-and-Tumble World of the NFL”. Mike Freeman was born on December 9, 1960 in London England.
This shows that football and not just football but American Football is an influence in Britain and
has an effect on the British people.

In the beginning, when settlers first came to the Americas from Great Britain,
Great Britain was the major world power and the main influence in the world. So for a colony of
Great Britain to greatly influence that country it is a big deal. On top of that the new sport was
taken from two British sports that were combined into one and made better. This new sport was then
adopted back into British culture. Another thing that demonstrates this is that there is more News
coverage in Britain on American Football in America then there is on the American Football in
Britain itself. Ultimately Great Britain was influenced by one of their colonies. This parallels
the development of Literature in Great Britain. For the longest time Britain was the major
influence in literature as well as everything else. But as its colony, the United States became the
dominant country it also became the influence in most fields including literature. So, just like
what happened with sport, Britain began to take some of the literary styles developed in the U.S. I
believe the sport will continue to grow and become ever more popular and even affect the media, pop
culture and literature of Great Britain.


















Throughout the world as literature became increasingly popular Great Britain emerged as a leader in
the field with 5 main literary devices. This essay will analyze certain authors in these 5 main
devices. The authors that will be mentioned are: William Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, J.K. Rowling,
J.R.R. Tolkien, William Golding, Ian Fellman, John Donne, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Virginia
Woolf, George Orwell, A.E. Housman, and Doris Lessing. There are 5 main literary devices that seem
to repeat themselves in British literature. Each has to do with 5 broader topics. They are
setting, theme, resolution, gender, and form.

The first of the 5 main literary devices, having to do with setting, is the fact that many works in
British Literature take place in despairing places. The authors that will be discussed are William
Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Orwell, J.K. Rowling, and John Donne. William
Shakespeare’s play Macbeth it seems as if the whole play is surrounded by despairing scenery. For
example, one literary critic, Anton Chekhov, said this “…sister is now working but the grimness of
the setting…”. This quote is speaking about the grim setting in which the scene with the three
witch sisters took place. Mary Shelley was another author that utilized the despairing setting in
order to bring her readers into the action of her stories. In her novel Frankenstein the scene
where the monster was created was very despairing and had bad weather. Alost all serious scenes
that weren’t happy had a dark and despairing atmosphere about them. J.R.R. Tolkien is another
author that has almost all of his settings in despairing places. For example, in the book The
Fellowship of the Ring it says, “It was evening, and the grey light was again …The mountains were
veiled in deepening dusk, and the wind was cold.” (pg. 352). This despairing scenery helps to
reflect the despair that the characters feel. The next author that uses bleak setting is J.K.
Rowling. In her book Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince she says, “He was standing upon a high
outcrop of dark rock, water foaming and churning below him…A towering cliff stood behind them, a
sheer drop, back and faces… It was a bleak, harsh view the sea and the rock unrelieved by any tree
or sweep of grass or sand.”(pg. 555). The grim scenery helps to instill fear and sadness over what
is taking place in the story. George Orwell is another author that loves the despairing setting.
He based his entire book in cold lifeless place. All the houses and buildings are old and rundown
and none of the elevators or heating and plumbing systems seem to work. A great description of this
is at the beginning of the novel when Winston looks outside to see “Outside, even through the shut
window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and
torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be
no colour in anything,…”(pg. 2). The final author that uses a lot of despairing settings is John
Donne and he especially demonstrates this in his work The Undertaking.

The second of the 5 literary devices is theme and more specifically the theme of bravery
especially that of lead male characters. The authors that will be discussed are J.R.R. Tolkien,
William Golding, J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, A.E Housman, and Doris Lessing. J.R.R. Tolkien has many
male characters that display heroism. The main characters include Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin,
Gandalf, Gimli, Aragorn, and Legolas. These are all main male characters that display great heroism
throughout the Lord of the Rings series. One example of this is when Gandalf the grey a wizard in
the novel stood alone against the Balrog. “’You cannot pass!’ he said…With a terrible cry the
Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But eve as it fell it swung its whip,
and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered,
and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was
gone.”(pg. 392-393) The next author is William Golding. In his book The Lord of the Flies his main
characters Ralph, Piggy, and Simon all showed heroism. This is even described by an anonymous
literary critic who writes for Enotes.com when they say, “Was the tragic hero of the tale Piggy,
Simon, or Ralph?”. Then is J.K. Rowling. In her Harry Potter series the hero of the entire series
is a male character named Harry. An example of his heroism is when in the novel is when he fights
the Dementors who are trying to kill his cousin. Harry risks his life to save his cousin despite
the fact that Harry hates him. “A towering, hooded figure was gliding smoothly towards him,
hovering over the ground, no feet or face visible beneath its robes, sucking on the night as it
came…Stumbling backward, Harry raised his wand …’Expecto Patronum!’” (pg. 17-18). Harry fought off
the Dementors and saved his half brother. Then is Jane Austen. In her work Northanger Abbey she
says, “But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families
cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.” This speaks of the
main male character in the work. After is A.E. Housman. A literary critic, Forster, says, “When A
Shropshire Lad… the conquering hero comes” and it alludes to A.E.’s Ludlow. Finally is Doris
Lessing. In her novel The Grass is Singing she has a male protagonist who greatly demonstrates

Next is a literary device that has been suggested by one literary device critic, Alex Flores, which
is unsatisfying resolutions or endings. The authors that will be mentioned are Mary Shelley,
William Wordsworth, Virginia Woolf, and John Donne. In Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein the story
concludes with a very unsatisfactory ending. At the end of the novel the reader is left hanging and
does not know if the monster really commits suicide or continues to live. The author also does not
say if Robert ever makes it home safely from his exploits in the northern seas. The last lines of
the book go as follows: “But soon, he cried with sad and solemn enthusiasm, I shall die, and what I
now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral
pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration
will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace, or
if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell. He sprang from the cabin window as he said
this, upon the ice raft which lay close to the vessel. He was soon borne away by the waves and lost
in darkness and distance.”(pg. 201) And the author gives no more information as to what the fate of
the monster is. Then there is William Wordsworth who wrote Tintern Abbey that has no resolution and
therefore it is a very unsatisfying ending. The poem concludes with the lines:

Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!(lines 155-159)

This gives no definite resolution and provides no satisfaction to the reader. Next is Virginia
Woolf. She wrote the short story An Unwritten Novel in which she had no deliberate resolution or
conclusion to tie the story together and satisfy the reader’s curiosity. Finally, John Donne, wrote
The Will which also had an unsatisfying resolution. The poem ends, “Thou, Love, taught'st me
by making me Love her who doth neglect both me and thee, To invent, and practise this one way, to
annihilate all three.” It does not solve the problems and questions raised throughout the poem.
Then is the topic of treating men and women equally. The authors are Mary Shelley, William
Shakespeare, William Golding, George Orwell, and Doris Lessing. Mary Shelley seems to favor women.
Although she has more male characters in her novel Frankenstein the male characters seem to make all
the mistakes and have the most actions that liable to be punished. For example the main character
Victor Frankenstein creates the monster that is a “fiend” as he calls it and a “crime against
nature” which causes all the trouble in the novel. Two specific quotes that show how horrible the
monster is, are: "I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a
convulsive motion agitated its limbs." (Frankenstein pg. 51). The second is: "I gnashed
my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I has so
thoughtlessly bestowed" (Frankenstein pg. 87). The final thing about this novel that
demonstrates the how men are discriminated against is the fact that the monster itself is a male.
It is almost as if Mary is trying to make the monster embody all the things she sees wrong with men.
In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth men and women are treated quite equally and it almost seems as if
Lady Macbeth has control over Macbeth. George Orwell also seems to treat the two genders equally
especially in his novel 1984 where the two main characters are a male and a female both having equal
power in their relationship. The female Julia even seems more educated and able to handle herself
better then Winston the male character. Next, William Golding seems to favor male characters. This
is because in his novel The Lord of the Flies every character on the island is a male and when the
navy comes to rescue the children they too are all male. Finally Doris Lessing is an author who
includes many gender issues in her works. A lot of this is also on social justice. In her work The
Golden Notebook she demonstrates her feelings by treating both Genders completely equal.
Finally there is the literary device of form especially the use of ten syllable lins. John Donne,
William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, A.E Housman, and Doris Lessing will be discussed.
In John Donne’s poems he utilizes the art form of four syllable words. For example in his poem The
Will he uses a ten syllable line he says “My constancy I to the planets give”. William Wordsworth
in his poem Perfect Woman failed to use the ten syllable lines and rather used eight syllable lines.
For example he says, “She was a phantom of delight/ When she first gleamed upon my sight”. Then
there is Jane Austen. In her poem Ode to Pity where she does a great job of using ten syllable
lines such as “The Paths of honour and the Myrtle Grove/ Whilst the pale Moon her beams doth shed.”
Fourth is Virginia Woolf. A literary critic Richard Goldman says, “Woolf has a unique style of
writing…”. I maintain that what makes her writing unique is the way that she makes use of ten
syllable lines. Finally is Doris Lessing. In her poem titled In Time of Dryness she makes all
lines of her poem in perfect ten syllable lines.

In conclusion there are the five literary devices in British Literature pertaining to setting,
theme, resolution, gender, and form. Each has a more specific subdivision. For setting it is the
fact that many works in British Literature take place in despairing settings. For theme the
division is bravery of the lead male characters. The device of resolution has the subtopic of
unsatisfying resolutions. Then there is the treating of men and women equally which is under
gender. Finally there is the device of form with the subdivision of using four syllable words.
This is very important because most of the literature of today has branched off from British
Literature because it was the major power of the world for many years.

Works Cited
McBeth, Mark. "Shelley's Frankenstein." Explicator Spring 1999. 21 May 2008.143,4.

Rowling, Joanne K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, 1997. 294.

Rowling, Joanne K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic Press, 1998

Tolkien, John R. The Fellowship of the Ring. New York: Ballantine Books, 1973. 12.

Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey:
Barnes & Nobles, 2005

Housman, A.E. Shropshire Lad:
Bartley, January 1996