English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  Growing up in an Irish family where there are a lot of jokesters, our family has had our fair share of funny moments. You know every time we get together it will be a good time and a funny time. The dinner table every night is when we have a lot of our moments. We always try to eat dinner together and I think that brings out the humor in us.

My funny story involves my cousin Shawna, my neighbor Michael, and me. Summer time means two things, one no school, and two wiffle ball. One summer morning my neighbor Michael and I were playing wiffle ball in my backyard. My backyard was a great place to play wiffle ball when we were younger, there was a perfect stone wall for homeruns, and a pitchers mound cut into the grass. If you were able to hit a homerun over my wall you would have to get it, but there was one problem, my mean old neighbor Miss Doogan.

Miss Doogan was probably the meanest, oldest, most miserable woman in the world and she hated when we went into her backyard. Michael and I always thought it was funny when she yelled at us and kicked us out of her yard because we knew she would never try to chase us for she was too old. My aunt had brought my cousin Shawna over for the day while she went to work. Shawna was quiet and would do anything if asked.

Michael and I were playing all morning and for some reason after I hit my homerun that day I made my cousin Shawna get it. She was probably eight years old at the time and she went over to get the ball. Shawna had no clue about Miss Doogan but Michael and I knew what was going to happen. So Shawna was nice and went over and got the ball that I hit. Then we heard Miss Doogan yelling. We thought it was hilarious and couldn’t wait to see Shawna’s face when she came back over. Shawna came running over with a big wet spot on her shorts.

That’s when I learned not to make other people take responsibility for your own actions. Now when we hear the story we always laugh and feel bad for Shawna but there is a story for every one of us, and if you are laughing to hard your story will be told. Everyone in our family agrees that you have to be able to take some serious criticism and I think that is what makes my family unique.















Dear Alfred, Lord Tennyson, This is the hard time, when we critics have to buckle down and get to work. Rejection is a hard thing to accept and it is a hard thing to give out. So much to read so little time and we here at Prentice Hall are sorry to inform you that your work will not be accepted for next years edition of British Literature. We have to a conclusion that work has declined in fact some think it never good.

Your writing is the least bit interesting, it’s boring and depressing. Others have said your writing is “Too Victorian and out of date”. Prentice Hall wants their students to be able to comprehend and learn from the writing that is put into our texts. We want our students to learn good vocabulary and be able to explore different ideas and different topics from exciting authors who can offer these values. There is nothing to be learned from your poems and the topics you choose to write about are atrocious. As your writing is read from the first line to the very last line it is bad poetry. No rhythm, there is no beat and there is no understanding.

As I myself scrolled through your writings I couldn’t not help but notice one in particular line that was incomprehensible and unheard of. In the Lady of Shallot you wrote and I read “By the margin willow-veiled, slide the heavy barges trailed, by slow horses and unhailed”. If I were an eighty year old woman that might be a nice poem but I am not and our text book is not for eighty year old women. Our text books are for teenagers and writing does not fit that status. I am afraid that I have to agree with T.S. Eliot who called you “the saddest of English poets.

We hope that you are not one who takes criticism personally even though Toynton, Evelyn said you took criticism deeply. Your style of writing does not have what we consider the right material for a good text and in fact we feel your writing does not have the right material for any text. We wish you well on you journey through poetry but we also suggest that you find something else in this world for a living. Thanks for your time and good luck.
















There are many superstitions that inspire writers to write poetry. In British Literature there are many styles of superstitions whether the topic be potions, witches, or ghosts, the goal of the author is to get you to believe in what they are writing. An example of British literature that involves some kind of superstition is The Lady of Shallot, Macbeth, and Frankenstein. All of this work has become so famous and held at a high level because the author got the audience to believe in the superstition that he wanted them to. It is difficult to write a fictional poem, one piece of poetry that has not gotten much recognition is “Small Ghost Poem” written by Lawrence Raab. An American poet once said about superstition, “Superstition is the poison of the mind” (Joseph Lewis). Many different people have different opinions on this topic but it is important to understand where superstitious authors are coming from.

“Small Ghost Poem” is an in depth poem on ghosts and the lives they have around us. The poem might have different meanings for different people but it is important to take in what Lawrence Raab is saying. His work may not be appealing but the fact that he relates his ghost story to every day life may help the reader to understand better. A quote from his poem that will make you think every time you hear leaves rustles states, “Say it’s the leaves, the way they rustle, they’re out there now, small ghosts, out an about”. He makes you wonder in another line “It’s late and it’s cold, they want to come in” has you thinking of not only ghosts but those who are homeless and outside and are they the ghosts of our world?

Sometimes as you read poems you think of peoples social construction and there social norms, it is important to consider that famous superstitious works were written hundreds of years ago. “Small Ghost Poem” may have been concentrating on the deaths of people during this time, the poem talks about dark and cold places therefore revealing that the poem could be written in the winter or autumn when the leaves were on the ground. All plants die during this time and animals migrate which remind a lot of people of death. The poem might make us feel that people at that time were lonely and unwelcoming and scared of death, with ghosts in the air.

This poem has not made it into text books or published in poetry books but the fact that it was written hundreds of years ago gives us more of an idea of life of British people then. The work is not perfect and it not very interesting or appealing to the average teenager. The author might not have been able to afford to have her worked published or it was just rejected but the poem was written and never met the qualities of what a good poem was suppose to be like back then. Perhaps the poem was not long enough or it didn’t have any rhyme scheme. There are many possibilities and only one real answer which we may never know.

Many people find superstition pointless, fake, and not worthy of being read. Superstition does not appeal to all but for those who do find a link between superstition and poetry they are up for the mystery and are willing to read on. It is hard for some people to read and I am not a superstitious person and I felt that “Small Ghost Poem” is not interesting and would not catch the eye of any critic. It is not a very influential poem but there are a few lines that could be attracting to the reader. Joseph Lewis also said “superstition is false, no superstitious poem is worth reading.”




























The English language has changed so dramatically over the last 1300 years. With these changes in our language it has brought change in our culture and change in the way people think. As a major world power America has an effect on the life style in countries all across the world. Simple words have erupted into meanings and spellings that are just unheard of and hard to imagine. Different words mean different things for example my sister, Christine Kelly said “I sweat that show”. When I heard that I thought the show makes her sweat, instead I found out it meant she really liked the show. This is ridiculous, different words mean different things to people, such as the word “happy.” Happy seems like a pretty simple word but everyone thinks of happy in different ways. One word should have one meaning. It is foolish to have so many words and have such diverse meanings to these words.

The word “happy” was first used in print in 1375 by Barbour in Bruce pg. 121. According to OED.com the usage of this word was very different then our use of it today. The sentence was “Wys men sayis he is happy The be other will him chasty,” the definition for this version of ‘happy’ is “having good ‘hap’ or fortune; lucky; fortunate; favoured by lot, position, or other external circumstances,” thankfully that definition is now dead. Over the years the words meaning has changed making it more confusing for the reader. Another definition found in the OED was, “coming of happening by chance”. This definition was first used in 1513 by Douglas. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines ‘happy’ as “coming or happening by chance” or “pleasant, glad or please”. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “happy” as “cheerful marked by pleasure or willing”. In the Cambridge Advanced Learner Dictionary “happy” was defined “showing or causing pleasure of satisfaction”. With so many different definitions it is hard for a person now to even use the word in a sentence because of the different meanings.

The word was first use in 1375 but through the years different meanings and different spellings has changed the word into what it is today. In the 1600’s Shakespeare used the word as a verb in Sonnet vi. “that use is not forbidden usery whish happies those that pay the willing lone”. In 1626 Breton Pasquil changed the spelling of the word to ‘happieth’. After that the word was spelled “happy” from 1719 on. The most recent edition of the word “happy” into the OED was in 1959 I. & P. Opie used it in Lore & Lang Schoolch pg 365. He used the same meaning that is used today “there is a happy land by the Red School,” meaning a cheerful land.

The word today is used as an adjective even though Shakespeare attempted to change its part of speech. The word is use to described good things happy hour, happy man, and happy life; all good things that people feel good about. When I asked my mother, Caroline Kelly what she thought about the word she said, “It makes me happy when your room is clean,” not the answer I wanted but she did use a common definition. My grandmother, Mary Flaherty stated “When I think of happy I think of being in a good mood.” My aunt, Mary Duffy also thinks of being happy as being in a good mood. My sister, Marie Kelly said about the word happy, “I will be happy when you leave me alone” again she used a common definition and the sentence made sense. My next door neighbor Owen Gaffney who is four years old said “Happy is fun”, and his sister Jane Gaffney agreed with him. My father, Mattie Kelly said when asked what he first thinks of when he hears the word happy “being at home with my family”, well that wouldn’t exactly make me happy, but the word was still used correctly. My cousin Christopher Walsh said “Happy is when you are in a good mood and when you smile a lot”. Most people had the same idea about the word. They were able to put it into their own words but then I made the mistake of asking my brother about the word happy. Sean Kelly said “happy is gay” I am not sure what he means but I think it agrees with the same idea as the others.

Many people have turned this word into a phrase. One common phrase used is Happy Birthday. This keeps in line with the common definition used today because it is wishing a good day of birth. Courtney Hargrave of the Women’s Day Magazine wrote her article titled “Happy Trails” in the article she is saying good bye to an old friend. This title uses a different definition because it is wishing luck in later life not to have a good trail. Joni Hilton wrote in the Women’s Day Magazine “Presents several ways to make women happy” this goes by the definition to make good or feel better. Joseph Mcgonegal said “when I first think of the word happy, Shiny Happy People by RAM, a positive term, Happy a character from South Park”. My cousin Lauren Kelly speaks Spanish fluently and has lived in Ecuador and said that the word happy is ‘contento’ in Spanish and in Ecuador the word was not used a lot and most people avoided it. She said that there was a lot of poverty and most people weren’t happy and that was her experience with the word.

The word has changed definitions and spellings through the year but it has kept the same topic. The fact that a word can change though, shows that this word is going to probably change in the future. Is this a good thing? I do not think it is. I believe that a word should have one spelling and one definition and it is hurting our language to broaden a words meaning.