English 10: Writing Portfolio

 

Catholic Memorial High School

 

2007-2008

   
   
   
   
   
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Creative Writing  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  While many people may not realize it, many common day words have very different defenitions than
what we know today, Tank has a tank-full of defenitions. While today the word Tank is known mostly
as the Militaries main fighting machine, the word started its life in India in 1616 to describe a
man made pool or lake. This word is a key example of how technology can change the meaning of a word
drasticaly over time.


In todays world, the word Tank has a couple of common meanings. Wordnet describes tank as
"An Armored Military Vehichle.." Its also described as a metal container such as a gas
tank in our cars. The American Heritage Dictionary describes Tank as "A large metal container
used for story gasses and liquids" like on tanker trucks or gas regular word definitions, ther
artanks at gas stations.While most definitions aree also slang uses for the word. The Online
Etymology Dictionary describes Tank as slang for "drunk" or being "Tanked."
The Oxford English Dictionary dates the word back 319 years to its first use in India as
"an artificial pool or lake." The word later spread around the word to mean the same
thing. Later in 1912 it was used for a seldom used slang term today for a prison cell. Soon it took
on more modern definitions in 1902 by Harmsworth of Motors & Motor-Driving as "a fuel
container of a motor vehichle."


The word also got used by authors in their novels, some creating new defenitions for the word to
use. In 1912, it was used by D. Lowrie in the book "My life in Prison" to desribe the jail
cell at a police station. The word was also used many times in history books and other publications
for old military vehichles and other common defenitions.


Many News Papers also use the word tank in various other defenitions. The most popular use was
during war times to describe events over seas, the most recent was durning the Iraq war to describe
military tanks during Operation Desert Storm and still mentioned today in update articals on the
war. Other news papers use it in to describe activitys in their own towns. In the London Times, Lucy
Alexander used the phrase "Think-Tank" used in the context "a group or organization
for intense research and solving problems" this problem being about commuting homes.


The word Tank has stood the test of time and continues to grow and adapt to ever changing
technology and generations. There no dought that Tank will be around a long time, as will the
English language. As English begins to gain new words from other cultures and countries, it is also
growing into a strong, more universal language which will be spoken more and more as time goes on.

   
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Dear, Mr. Scribe


We are sorry to inform you that, after much discussion, the latest edition of Prentice Hall
Literature will not include your story “Beowulf.” Prentice Hall Literature has undergone budget cuts
and has decided that “Beowulf” should not be included in out collection of literature. The story of
“Beowulf” has been seen as to violent for our intended audience. We believe that your story contains
to many fantastical characters and events. Out of the characters in “Beowulf,” we have found that to
many acts of cowardice appears throughout.


While this story may be well written, to many violent events occur. Too much gore and violence is
present throughout your story and is not suited for our book. An example of gore is presented
during the fight with Grendel were Beowulf rips off Grendel's arm. The quote from your story,
“The victory, for the proof, hanging high/from the rafters were Beowulf had hung it, was the
monster's/arm, claw and shoulder and all.”(408-410) shows incredible gore and detail in this
really violent scene. This is only one of the violent scenes in “Beowulf.” Even more violence is
shown during the battle with Grendel's Mother where it states “...And struck with all the
strength he had left,/ caught her in the neck and cut through,/broke bones and all. Her body fell/
to the floor, lifeless, the sword wet/with her blood, and Beowulf rejoiced at the sight.”(538-542)
This scene shows a great amount of gore and detail along with a great amount of “blood lust” from
the character Beowulf. This amount of violence and rage presented by Beowulf makes him an
unacceptable character to our audience. We believe that this story is to violent for Prentice Hall
Literature.


“Beowulf” is also a very fantastical story. The whole characters of Grendel, Grendel's Mother
and the Dragon are very fantastical characters. The fact that those characters are monsters add a
very fantastical aspect to the story. While these characters may be monsters themselves, the aspect
of magic in the story makes it more fantastical. During the scene were Beowulf and the Geats face
Grendel, it states that Grendel was magically impervious to weapons saying “....had bewitched all
men's weapons, laid spells/that blunted every mortal men's blade.”(377-378). While the
monsters may be fantastical, the protagonist Beowulf is also in some aspects fantastical himself.
Beowulf is describe as a inhumanly strong man which is operant during the fight with Grendel were he
removes his arm and the fight with Grendel's mother were Beowulf wields the giant “enchanted”
sword. “Then he saw, hanging on the wall, a heavy/sword, hammered by giants, strong/ and blessed by
their magic...”(530-533) is were it sates the sword that Beowulf used against Grendel's mother
is in fact “magic” and was “hammered by giants” shows the fantastical aspect of the sword itself and
Beowulf's strength to wield it We believe that this story is to fantastical for Prentice Hall
Literature.


A reoccurring theme of cowardice appears many times in this story. While Beowulf is himself very
brave, other ordinary characters are cowards. The reason Beowulf came to kill Grendel was because
the men their were to afraid to stand up and slay Grendel. When Beowulf went to fight Grendel's
Mother, only Beowulf went to fight her in her home. The most apparent scene of cowardice is during
the final fight with the Dragon. “None of his comrades came to him, helped him, his brave and noble
followers;they ran for their lives, fled deep in a wood...”(708-711) This excerpt from Beowulf shows
the amount of cowardice that shows up during this story and the little amount of gumption shown. We
believe this story contains to many coward characters for Prentice Hall Literature.


From everyone here at Prentice Hall, we sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. In later
editions of Prentice Hall, we will greatly consider your story as a key aspect of our collection.
While we cannot promise, all of us hope your wonderful story will make it back into our books in the
future. We apologize again and thank you for your cooperation.
Sincerely
Prentice Hall Literature

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure skating is a much older sport than most people may think. According to the encyclopedia, the
word "figure skating" was first used in 1870 to describe this form of ice skating. Because
ice skating and later figure skating was originally created in Britain, it holds a place in its
history according to the encyclopedia. Figure skating was seen outside of Britain for the first time
in the 1908 Olympic games in Australia. From looking at the sport pages in British news papers, it
is obvious that this sport is seldom mentioned, only become known during the Olympics or other
completions. Even though this sport is of British ancestry, it holds a place in their history, but
not much in its literature.


The origins and creation of figure skating is more interesting than most people may think.
According to the encyclopedia, the first evidence of ice skating was all the way back in 50 b.c in
the location of modern day London. It also said that the first skates were far from what we use
today. Polished elk and animal antlers were common ice skates for the first skaters. The first
common form of the sport was recorded in Britain in 1870. While the sport may have originated in 50
b.c, the encyclopedia states that the first official competitive figure skating competition
wasn't held until 1870. The sport of figure skating has come a long way from polished elk bones
to stainless steel blades. Figure skating might not be a popular sport in Britain, but holds a place
in its history after coming such a long way.


The first professional figure skaters were from the place the sport originated in. According to the
encyclopedia, John Curry and Robin Cousins became the first professional figure skaters in 1948.
Even with the first competition being held in the 1908 Olympics, the first professionals didn't
appear until 40 years after. This simple fact shows that every figure skater up until 1940 was an
amateur, even in the Olympics. From the amateurs from the sports creation to modern professionals
like Jenna McCorkell, many professionals and amateurs will continue to practice and prefect the
sport of figure skating.


Figure skating is one of the least popular sports in Britain, only being wrapped into the sport of
Ice skating. Figure skating gets very few articles in the many news papers of Britain. The
Telegraph, a popular British news paper, contains only ten articles of the sport spanning from March
20th, 2008 all the way to January 23rd, 2006. Over the course of two years, the sport received only
ten articles, in other papers even none. While the sport does get coverage, it is mostly over
controversial events or victories in the sport, the most recent being Jenna McCorkell,
Britain's best female figure skater, not making the world cup. Figure skating captures little
interest from the British press but victories are still appreciated. This sport is not to popular
but still holds a fan base.


Literature in Britain contains little on the sport of figure skating. According the the Oxford
English Dictionary and Ebsco, few pieces of literature have been made on figure skating. Out of a
the very little, none were made from British authors. Even with this sport being a pure blooded
British sport, it isn't popular enough to get into any major pieces of British literature.
While news paper articles may be released on certain players, little books or poems are written
about them or their sport.


The future of figure skating is uncertain. The sport can see a drastic increase in popularity, or
slowly die out from a lack of fan support. While the sport is played in the Olympics, it is slowly
loosing speed from its first introduction only a hundred years ago. While this sport is a chance for
different countries to take home a medal and gain some patriotic pride, many people sopped their
interest in one of the most skilled sports. The future of this sport can go either way, but it looks
bleak.

   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Greetings Mr. Scheff, my name is Daniel O'Loughlin. I am a sophomore and currently in the
English 10, British Literature class at Catholic Memorial. So far our class consist of weekly
vocabulary words and vocabulary tests. The curriculum consist of units of literature and test about
them. While the class has become a major part of the Catholic Memorial English program, I believe it
should be removed to make way for a much broader spectrum of literature from both our country and
the world. While British Literature has become an important part of the Catholic Memorial English
program, the English program should consist of more literature from around the globe and help build
and develop the students understanding of literature and enable them to write their own.

Throughout the year in British Literature, students have learned less about literature itself and
more about pieces of literature in particular. While having knowledge of pieces of literature is a
good tool, the understanding of how to read, analyze and develop literature is more important than
reading specific stories. The structure of poems and stories is discussed in British Literature,
however, the development of literature is sacrificed for the remembrance of words and structure of
certain works. I believe learning to develop and create works of literature is a skill that will
allow the students to be able to pursue a career in literature instead of just understanding how
other works were made. While writing papers is a part of the British Literature class curriculum,
most papers develop a deeper skill of research and how to develop it into an essay. “The sport of
golf does not really have an origin. Saint Andrew in Scotland has been the accepted home of the
sport. The World Book Online says that some historians claim that golf was influenced from a Roman
sport of paganica.” This quote from sophomore Bernard O'Donnel, a student in the British
Literature class, paper shows that the paper contained more static information being listed and less
actual thought provoking writing. While being able to write a well worded research paper is
important, being able to write a good story or poem is a bigger part of literature than research and
bullet-pointed facts.

Catholic Memorial is a private school dedicated to higher learning, and other schools have dropped
British literature to pursue the same goal. Schools like Framingham High School has dropped British
Literature as a English course. Other schools have even gone further adding more options to expand
the choices of literary education. Courses range from Public speaking and creative writing to
science fiction and humanities. These choices allow the students to continue their education of
literature in the field that grasp their interest. With many highly respected public schools and
private schools alike dropping British Literature from their English courses, it should be only
natural that Catholic Memorial follows to allow the students to get the full benefit of Catholic
Memorials academics. Keeping British Literature in the English curriculum wont due any harm but may
rob the students of getting the best English education they can.

Any student would gladly agree to remove a class from school just to get out of it, but what about
other teachers? While students may agree to removing British Literature from schools, many teachers
also see how unnecessary the British Literature class is to a complete English course. Wayland
English teacher Maryann Svenning is one who agrees with the removal of British Literature from
American classrooms. Mrs. Svenning says that “British Literature fails to recognize that a great
deal of contemporary British fiction is modeled after American fiction....” She goes on to say that
“British Literature fails to recognize the essential quality of innovations that is uniquely
'American.'” I believe that it is true, that studying British Literature makes many
students lack the understanding and liking of the unique and innovative styles of American writings.
Mrs. Svenning said that “British Literature is only 'necessary' for advanced studies in
comparative literature and linguistic.” and should be offered as a choice to those who have an
interest in it.

It is not only the students and teachers that agree with the removal of British Literature. British
author Charles Porter agrees to the removal of British Literature, even though he is a British
author. Porter said that “While British Literature has a deep and rich history, American schools
should read works from more 'local' writers.” Porter goes on to say that “American writers
have created many great pieces of literature and it is only natural that it should be learned in
American schools.” With even British authors themselves agreeing to remove British Literature, it is
almost a universal vote to remove the course from being a mandatory English course. Making it
mandatory is not fair to those who wish to read native pieces of literature, while removing it is
depriving students who who wish to pursue their interest in it. British Literature as an elective
course while allow a broader spectrum of learning at Catholic Memorial.


While removing British Literature from the Catholic Memorial English program will allow change,
replacing it with a generic English class will do more damage. I have made a proposal to create a
Literary development class to replace the British Literature class. This class will consist of
reading different styles of writing from around the world, while also developing the students
individual literary skills. Each student will have a chance to write a piece of literature using
different styles of writing and being able to develop their imagination in writing as a way to
express themselves. The course would consist of different creative writing papers using specific
writing styles being graded on understanding and development and also assignments consisting of self
designed papers with their own stories and style of writing. Tests will be on story development and
structure along with comprehension building activities. While the program will be a difficult one to
start, it will be beneficial for the students future.