English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  

Ever since my brother, Andrew, could walk and talk, he has occasionally wreaked havoc on my family. This one incident occurred about five or six years ago and has been the worst he's done so far. It happened in the basement of my old house, all because my brother wanted a swimming pool. This incident reveals to me that my family is forgiving. It has also taught me that we all make mistakes. My little brother has always liked to cause trouble. Whether it be reversing the car into a forest or throwing my belongings down a flight of stairs, he's done it all. This particular incident was when he flooded our basement.

Since my brother learned to swim, he has always wanted a swimming pool to call his own. In my old house, there was a bulkhead that led into our basement. At the bottom of the stairs there was a drain for any water that collected there. He decided that this area was suitable for a pool. He removed his socks from his feet and stuffed them into the drain. He then turned on the hose and dropped it into the bulkhead. He then came to the conclusion that it was going to take a while for the bulkhead to fill. He went inside and watched T.V. and eventually forgot about what he had done. My parents went out to dinner that night and my aunt babysat us while they were out. While my parents were away, I went downstairs, into the basement, to play video games. I noticed that the basement was "A little wet". It was soaked in about 2 inches of water. The basement was completely flooded. My parents were furious when they arrived home and found out what had happened to the basement. The water had seaped in through the bottom of the bulkhead door that leads into the basement. After running for about four or five hours, every square inch of the basement was wet. When my brother came downstairs and saw the damage he had done, he went white in the face like a shot soldier. He immedietely burst into tears. He was sorry for what he had done but also thought it was kind of funny, probably because he didnt have to pay to get the basement repaired.

My family didn't think that this event was too funny when it occurred, but when we look back on it, we laugh. It taught me that no matter how bad something is, some comedy can come out of it. The occurrence of this event has shown me that although we sometimes make mistakes, they can be forgiven.



















Dear Mr. Browning,

Every year I am tasked with choosing which authors are best fit to be entered into the British Literature text book. We believe that the recipients of this book should be interested its contents. Our vision is simple. It is that the book should serve the student. It should open new doors in the person’s mind. It should challenge the person to explore all possibilities. Since the student will most likely have one year to study British Literature we want them to feel that the course has given back to them. Our vision plain and simple, Mr. Browning, is that we want to provide the best learning experience for the student.

I do not always enjoy being the editor. The main reason for this is that I am tasked with accepting and rejecting authors. I regret to inform you that we have decided not to include your work in our next edition. We have come to the conclusion that you do not fit into our vision for the best text book possible. We do not think that your writings appeal to a sophomore in high school. We have spent countless hours evaluating your work. Our readers find it incomprehensible. When it is read your poetry is dull. It is as if there is no rhythm presented in it. When a poem contains a rhythmic flow it makes the poem easier to be read and also easier to interpret and understand. As a colleague of mine once said, “Browning has usually been regarded as an impersonal poet” (Aubrey, Bryan-The Life of Robert Browning: A Critical Biography-Magill Book Reviews- 1/1/1995).

Once again, I am sorry to have to write this letter. We are sorry that you did not make the cut for this edition of our book. We urge you to submit your work again for re-evaluation the next time we are putting together a new edition. Good luck in the future. We are sure you will find success. Thank you for you interest.

Sincerely yours, Michael Casserly- Chief Editor.
























The world of British Literature has always been influenced by the element of superstition. Superstition is present in many of the British Literature works that we know of today. For instance, “Grendel”, by John Gardner and , “Frankenstein”, by Mary Shelley. Both of these writings place particular emphasis on some form of superstition. These two examples are a couple of the more well known works. They have been translated into different languages and have been read in many different countries. You could say that they are “World renowned”. However, not all the superstitious works of British Literature are “World renowned”. Many works have not become as popular as,“Grendel” or “Frankenstein”. One of the works that never really made it to the top is, “The Stolen Child”, by: William Butler Yeats.

Superstition is alive in this poem. Yeats is casting a supernatural figure or what he refers to as “Fairies”. In the poem, it says, “Come away o human child! To the waters and the wild with a faery, hand in hand.”, this is proof of superstition being alive in this poem. By using the term, “Faery”, Yeats is saying that this poem had its foundations on superstition. I understand this quote as to meaning that there is an apparition present in this poem. Another quote exposing superstition is “To and fro we leap and chase the frothy bubbles, while the world is full of troubles and anxious in its sleep”. Once again, this quote exposes superstition. I interpret this quote as the actions of the faerys.

The Irish are a very superstitious people. Take for instance, the belief in Leprechauns and Banshees. You could say that superstition is an Irish tradition. Superstition is a part of many Irish folktales and stories. This is why superstition plays a role in this poem. Yeats was affected by superstition because of growing up in Ireland. This poem alone will tell you about Irish Culture, especially during the time that this poem was written. This poem was composed in 1886. There were no scientific studies at this time. Nothing was explained by science. This is why superstition plays such a big role in this poem. During the late 1800’s, superstition explained many things in society. This poem is one of the many examples of Irish poetry that has its foundations on superstition.

This poem is not as widely known as some of the bigger works in British Literature. This is possibly due to the fact that not many people share the same interest in Irish Superstition as others do. It should not be dis-regarded because it tells so much about the Irish and the affect that superstition had on them back when this poem was written. It also tells us about Yeats views and beliefs in superstition. In a biography that was written about Yeats it says that, “Reincarnation, communication with the dead, mediums, supernatural systems, and oriental mysticism fascinated Yeats throughout his life”. This information fortifies the connection between Yeats and superstition.




























We look at language as being ,without doubt, one of a cultures most precious features. In some cultures you have the admirable languages such as French or Italian. in other cultures you have the less alluring languages, take English for example. The English language is made up of over 800,000 words. These words aren’t as elegant as the words that make up the other languages. One of the over 800,000 words is scorn. This word alone invokes hatred and anger. It is not a very radiant or graceful word. Just hearing it been said summons displeasure and irritation. If it was more positive rather than negative then it would aid in world progression. However, this is not the case. We want to see the world progress but this is not possible if words like scorn exist in our vocabulary. Scorn is a negative word and is therefore damaging to the progression of the world.

The word “Scorn” came to the English language from Middle English. It came from the French word “Escarn”. It is a word of Germanic origin. It is a negative word in the English language. This is partly due to it’s meaning. Even though it’s pronunciation sounds negative. the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary lists scorn as meaning “Open dislike and dis-respect or derision often mixed with indignation”. This clearly reinforces my thesis that it is a negative word that is hurtful to world progression. The American Heritage Dictionary characterizes scorn as meaning “Contempt or Disdain”(Pg.745). This is yet another negative meaning of scorn. Much of the same disavowal comes from Webster’s New World Compact School and Office Dictionary, where scorn is defined as “Extreme often indignant contempt”(Pg.384). All three of these definitions are corresponding. They are all negative definitions of the word. This makes scorn a hurtful word in our language.

The word “Scorn” has been characterized by the Oxford English Dictionary as being a noun and a verb. It’s meaning has pretty much remained the same for some time now. However, many of its definitions have become obsolete. For example, scorn was formally known as being “To speak or behave contemptuously; to use derisive language, jeer”. This definition of scorn is now dead. It rests along with other obsolete meanings of scorn such as “To treat with ridicule, to show extreme contempt for, to mock, deride”. Nowadays, we comprehend scorn as meaning “To hold in disdain, to condemn, despise”. It is also understood as to mean “To feel it beneath one, to disdain indignantly to do something”. Since scorn first appeared in our language it has undergone some minor changes to it’s definition. It has evolved over the many years since it’s birth. As time constantly moves ahead changes occur. This is true of words too. This is why scorn means what it does at the present time. As we progress through time, we can expect that some of our meanings of scorn will become obsolete in the future. This will bring about new and exotic OED meanings of the word scorn.

We all have different understandings of different words. They are our own ways of explaining what a word means. Some people view words like scorn as being positive, others see it as being a negative word. Christine Casserly understands scorn as meaning “To show lack of respect, to be derisive”. I would agree with Christine’s definition of the word. After all, it is how it is defined in the dictionary. She shows that it is a negative word by her definition and understanding of it. Joe Casserly recited a quote when asked about his definition of scorn. This quote was the first thing that came to his mind when he heard scorn being said. The quote was “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Again, this is scorn being linked to negativity. Andrew Casserly believes that to scorn is “To yell at someone”. This definition adds to the negative speech that I have received on the word scorn. Claire Casserly defines scorn as to mean “To yell at and/or to punish someone”. When Joseph McGonegal hears scorn he likes to think of it as being “Shakespearian”. When Joe used scorn in a sentence he used it in its negative meaning. He stated the sentence “Don’t have scorn for me”. The majority of my sources, 81% to be exact, understood scorn as being the negative word that it is.

Since it’s first appearance in literature, scorn has endured a very rich history in usage’s in literature. Many famous authors and poets that we know of today have used scorn in their bodies of literature. Scorn first appeared in literature in the year 1200. Back then it was spelled “Skarnedd”. Since it’s first appearance in literature it has been used by authors such as Tennyson, who used it in 1855. He used it as “To be scorn’d by one that I scorn”. Other famous authors such as Chaucer, who used it in 1386, have mentioned scorn once or twice in their works. Some of the more recent uses of scorn in literature have come from articles in magazines. One example is James Poniewozik’s article titled “Scorn is the Best Medicine”. It appeared in the November 2004 edition of TIME Magazine. Another example is John Lloyd’s article “The Scorn of the Literati.”. It was the cover story of the June 2001 edition of New Statesman Magazine. There is not any positive feedback on the word scorn in any of the literature sources that I have researched. This goes to say that besides being used as a negative word in our speech, it is also used negatively when it appears in pieces of literature.

Since its entrance into the English Language, scorn has often been used by many different authors. Many different sources can be found that use the word scorn. Scorn has evolved since it’s birth to become a very popular word in our language. Scorn has been especially used in recent articles and stories. It has become a very useful word. Judy Keen of USA Today used “scorn” in her article titled “Bush’s second term won’t be a rerun of his first”. This article was published in USA Today back in March of this year. Another person to use the word “scorn” was Ray Glier, also a writer for USA Today, in his article titled “Savannah State is in quite a struggle”. As you can see, more and more writers are using “scorn” in their works. They are coming up with new and interesting ways of using scorn in our language. The word “scorn” is currently in a constant growth process, with new ways of it being used arising all of the time.

After researching one word in the English language, I have reached the conclusion on the question of whether biligualism should exist. I stand by my belief that bilingualism should exist. By learning other languages, we can better our own language. If we study languages of other cultures, for example French, Latin, or Spanish, we can improve the English language. We will be able to make necessary changes in the English language, therefore making it sound better. If we stick to Bilingualism, we will be aiding in the ongoing fight to make English an overall better language. At the moment, English is a language that needs to be fixed. If we have bilingualism present, we will be reinforced which will make it easier to improve our language and make it stronger and better then it ever has been before.