English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  

The funniest story about my family happened in the summer of 2000. My family the Regan's were all enjoying our annual vacation to Harding’s Beach in Cape Cod. My dad packed the drinks and sandwiches into the cooler, and we headed to the beach to have a wonderful lunch on a perfect summer afternoon. When one of my three sisters had just taken the first bite of her turkey and lettuce sandwich, and "Bam!" a seagull had just swooped down like a hawk and taken my younger sister's lunch right from her mouth. The catastrophe left my younger sister crying to my mother, and what made matters worse for her was that she had already been complaining earlier about getting a sunburn and having sand in her hair.

Now my dad couldn't take any more of the crying and complaining and told us to pack up the car to go home. As we walk to the car a child about four years old sees my little sister crying and blurts out "Hey dad, that girls a bigger baby than me!"

This story didn't teach me that much I didn't already know about my family. I did have a good laugh at my sister’s expense however. The one thing it did teach me was to never eat a sandwich at the beach when seagulls are circling over head on the look for food. I like to tell this story mostly because it aggravates my sister because we have an amusing relationship where we like to joke around with each other like most typical brother and sister do, and to bring back that bad memory. She still claims that the four year old did not make fun of her to this day.


















Dear John Gardner, I regret to inform you that your novel, Grendel, has not been selected as part next year’s summer reading list. Students do not find this novel acceptable as the Catholic Memorial english teachers have found the novel. At Prentice Hall, we only accept books that students as well as teachers find acceptable reading.

Consequently, your work does not fit this vision, because the standards of literature from student to teacher differ greatly. According to a student, a good book would have roughly the same dreams, goals, and thoughts as one of his or her peers. They are interested in fictional stories, not books that have extremely fictional characters. Grendel continues to read for many pages without a major plot or exciting outcome. There are no monsters in the students’ lives, so why do they need to read stories of them? If you would like to learn how to write a good monster book you should ask Mary Shelley author of Frankenstein. Your writing goes far beyond the imagination of many readers, which could be the reason why I was not satisfied with your book. Below is a quote from your book that proves my feelings about the story: “I understood that the world was nothing a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears.” After reading this sentence, and many sentences alike before, I lost all understanding of the book.

Many students I know agree that your novel is not what people find interesting and is often described as boring. A reason your book is not preferred by us is simply because it is not enjoyable reading. Students are not at all interested in the retelling of a poem from the monsters point of view or a story of love and death, they need more. The novel you wrote is some what too complicated for young adults. Students’ want to read about themes they can relate to and mimic their own life or a life they wonder about that will liberate their mind. An example of a theme a majority of students like is one that is eye-catching, keeps you reading, and surprises you in what is going to happen next. The work which you have written unfortunately does not fit this vision.

The vision of a perfect book would have the story line or plot that is a true story or one very similar to a real life person. The book would have to contain a character, which struggles and is always seeking to complete a goal. The novel would also have a strong, growing storyline and exciting conclusion. Now tell me how this quote falls under any of these categories: “As you see it is, while the seeing lasts, dark nightmare-history, time-as-coffin; but where the water was rigid there will be fish, and men will survive on their flesh till spring. It’s coming, my brother. . . .” If you take these tips into consideration for your next work then the novel could have some hope and would now contain a story young adults would love to read.

A critic of your book, Kathryn Van Spanckeren, said that "The Language is never neutral in Gardner. It either imprisons or liberates..." She also said "...Grendel allows his fear to extend to language, which was written in John Gardner's Critical Perspectives published in 1982. Another critic I found thought that Grendel was “obscene” and sought after the removal of the book from the high school english class.” Above are critics who agree with me in the dislike of your book. And regrettably, your book will not be selected for next years summer reading requirements.

Sincerely, Ricky Regan























Superstition has had its share of great success with literature in Great Britain appearing in thousands of ways. A few ways to see the impact of the literature is through reading any ghost, witch, or curse stories. A piece of work many British scholars may not have heard of or read that gets us to believe in the wonders of superstition is The Horse’s Last Drunk by Eric Cross. The story focuses on letting the unthinkable and some highly unlikely situations become possible.

The tale brings us to believe that a tired horse, “had a bottle of poteen, and she was as lively as could be for another piece of the road. But just when he was to the east of Macroom, didn’t the horse lie down on the road, under the load, and the devil a stir from her.” “So they set to, and they skinned her, and when they had that done she moved. The horse wasn’t dead, but only dead drunk with the poteen she had taken, and the cold had put a stir into her when the skin was off.” To solve the problem of a skinless horse they had to, “hop over the wall, and killed four sheep and skinned them, and they sewed the warm skins on to the horse, and she got up after her debauch, and pulled away as good as ever.”

In 1942 this myth was written in Great Britain, specifically Cork, Ireland. The impression given to myself is that many Britain’s are fascinated by the supernatural and tales similar to their own life. I suppose that in this time stories were written in the familiar to explain the unfamiliar and that this story has a deeper meaning then what may be appeared. The British in this time are spellbound to imagine about endless stories that could occur in the real world in which they live.

The tale may not have been taken seriously enough by scholars because Irish Mythology has not exactly been the most respected genre by cultures outside of their own. Alec Gill is the author of “All at sea? The survival of superstition” copy right 1994 History Today Ltd. and he is a critic who has discussed this work and commented, “Superstition is especially prevalent among fishermen, as long-term research into the habits of the fishing community in the UK port of Hull demonstrates. Many of the taboos and superstitions of fishermen pertain to the behavior of their wives and families.” I firmly believe in the statement made my Alec and have been going along with the statement throughout this paper. The fact of the matter is that there is practically no chance for a horse to live after being skinned to have not died for another fourteen years with sheepskin on its back maybe it is too much fantasy for one person to handle. I think that perhaps this story is a mind boggling attempt at writing a myth.
















For many years language has had an impact in every culture. English has been one of the most important languages to have ever been spoken or to have been written down on paper. I firmly believe that the word “projectile” has had a positive impact on the world. The word is definitely helpful to our lives to some degree or another because it helps define things in a more intelligent way instead of having to use such a general word like, “thing” or “that”, projectile gives more meaning to the language.

 “The Oxford English Dictionary” is one of the primary research sources for this paper. When looking for the word “projectile” in the first usages in speech I know that this is probably a fairly new word with several different meanings, many similar. The first search I did on the “OED” for the word “projectile” showed the following usages in speech. Here the word was used for the first time in 1696 by Whiston in “The Earth I. Lemmata” pg.8 from, “The Uniform Projectile Motion of Bodies in straight lines.” The word is used here as, of motion or velocity which is caused by impulse or projection. Today, the definition of that word is now rare or obsolete. The word is used more often in this manner, “of force, impelling or driving forward or onward; projecting.” The context would be the following, “Fuseli in Lect. Paint. III.,” 1848 pg. 408, in, “the laws of attraction, the projectile and centrifuge qualities of the system.”

“Projectile” has had various meanings over the years and the meanings are continuing to grow everyday. According to “The American Heritage Dictionary”, “projectile” used as a noun means, “a fired, thrown, or otherwise propelled object, such as a bullet, having no capacity for self-propulsion and a self-propelled missile, such as a rocket.” “The Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary” defines the word “projectile” as an adjective which meant, “projecting, or impelling forward, capable of being or intended to be projected or shot forth.” As a noun it meant, “a body projected or thrown forth by force, a missile for discharge from a gun or cannon.” “Webster’s Dictionary” had the term for “projectile” as an adjective, “impelling or impelled forward; ‘a projectile force’; ‘a projectile missile.” The noun definition was, “a weapon that is thrown or projected.” All of the definitions previously listed show how the word “projectile” is used in speech today and over the past years.

“Projectile” has been used over the years in literature more times than one would anticipate. The word “projectile” has been used in literature through the following ways: 1858 Greener “Gunnery 20”, its use here was used more as a word for fireworks, “an artillerist projectile force.” The 1865 “Morning Star” June 11, uses “projectile as, “Everything that was projectile was brought into requisition.” 1929 I. A. Richards “Practical Criticism” pg.357 usage is, “Aesthetic or ‘projectile’ adjectives..raise several extraordinarily interesting questions... In so far as they register the ‘projection’ of a feeling into an object they carry a double function.” 1890 “Century Dictionary” uses the word as, “Projectiles used in smooth~bore guns are..sometimes oblong..as in the Manby, Parrott, and Lyle life-saving projectiles.” 1907 Payne-Gallwey “A Summary of the History”, “Construction and Effects in Warfare of the Projectile-Throwing Engines of the Ancients.” The sentences recently stated are courtesy of the “OED”.

The EBSCO research site contains more up to date uses of the word “projectile” because this site only uses literature from the past twenty-five years. A few examples in literature are the following: “The phenomenon where an impacting ‘projectile’ flows radially outward along the surface of the target with no significant penetration is presented.” By Charles E. Anderson and James D. Walker in “International Journal of Impact Engineering” October2005, Vol. 31 Issue 9, p1119. “Metal foam ‘projectiles’ are used to generate dynamic pressure–time histories representative of shock loading in water and air.” By D.D. Radford in “International Journal of Impact Engineering” October 2005, Vol. 31 Issue 9, p1152. “The velocities of a tungsten ‘projectile’ marking the transition between interface defeat and penetration have been determined and compared with the Vickers hardness and fracture toughness of the ceramic materials.“ By P. Lundberg and B. Lundberg of the “International Journal of Impact Engineering” issued in August 2005, Vol. 31 Issue 7, p781.

If someone asked you, “What does the word ‘projectile’ mean?” Do you think it would be very hard to answer? I did just that and asked some people I knew what the word meant to them and here are some answers that came up. The first person I asked was my sister, Kristen Regan, who replied very unconfidently, “forcing out?” Seeing as she was not a very reliable source the next victim was my father, Rick Regan. Rick was probably one of the few people who had the best grasp of the word saying, “something thrown or shot.” The much younger sister, Madeline Regan, told me that the word was “to talk loud” I think she thought I was saying to “project,” like to project your voice, where the root of the word comes from. Debra Regan, my mother, replied saying, “to vomit forcefully” which is really not a bad answer. James Hoeg was my next target who retorted “something in motion in the air.” When I heard this come out of his mouth it gave hope that there is actually someone who is right on target. Mike Clay said it meant “projectile diarrhea.” Nick Vaughan said it means “to launch something in the air.” Jake Sillins exclaimed “it means something in mid-flight.” Craig Carpenter said “something with substance.” Lastly, Lemuga Fonkem said “a rock, anything that you can throw.”

One of the last sources was Mr. McGonagall, he states the word “projectile’ is used as in projectile vomiting, object from a sling shot, a word you don’t use a lot, but it is a still a nice word.”

The word “projectile” is a beneficial word in the English language and to the rest of the world. “Projectile” is a unique and interesting definition which gives off many different ways for it to be used. Although “projectile” is derived from different languages than it is possible that this word is not only helping the English language but every language in the world. And now I have come to my conclusion; I feel that “projectile” is a helpful and useful word to the English language and to all world languages.


























Mr. McGonagall- (enters) I’d like to thank you for stopping by today, this is our thirty-first week studying together and can we get a start off by opening up and writing down the homework in our planners. We have been studying the Scottish play for the past three weeks and if you could all open up your books to page 376, number two. You will be trying to make a monologue up about anything you would like.

Silins- (looking for English book)

Mr. McGonagall- Silins could you please cease with the archaeological digging and just keep your hands on your desk!

Silins- OK sorry sir.

Mr. McGonagall- I appreciate it. Alright let us get a start off with a topic we can write about here umm… Marshall where do you want to go?


Mr. McGonagall- Great! Marshall want to go to Fiji, so we will write about a Fiji Survivor and have the people on the show have an idea on how to corrupt it. (few minutes later) Now you see this story only this story only took me about six minutes and it is not one of my best pieces, so perhaps it will take you the same to maybe a little bit longer time. (interrupted by drum sound) Palladino with out the drums beats. Appreciate it. Now if there aren’t any more questions let us continue act four scene three by…

Silins-(mumbles words)

Mr. McGonagall- Silins, raise your hand, drop it, speak. Question?

Silins- No, never mind.

Mr. McGonagall- OK we are going to continue to watch the Scotland, PA version of the play today. (Sets up the movie but interrupted by bell) Alright men bell has rung have a good day.