English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  

I have many funny family stories. There is one in particular that stands out. It has to be the one about my infamous older brother. For all of his dry humor, actually dry isn’t the word, for all of his parched humor, with all his effort he is the least funniest person that my family knows.

My parents, my brother, and I were on schedule to attend a welcome home party for a friend who came home from the military. Suddenly, something tragic happened, my brother Nick came down with a “so called” strep throat and also claimed that his breakfast would make a second appearance. So as my parents and I arrived at the party with one man down, we explained that Nick would not be attending the party. As soon as the fun began, my parents decided that we had to leave to check on Nick.

While my parents and I made our way home we began to hear a booming noise. Even I was appalled to hear such a loud sound at the time of nine thirty, but nevertheless this arrogant noise was coming from my house. My mother was on her toes waiting to burst through the door like a fierce bull, to give my brother a swift smack in the head. She accelerated through the hallways as if she were Dale Earnhardt Jr., while my father and I watched. As she turns the corner to check on my “ailing brother” who was unable to make the party, to our surprise we saw a sight which would very well scar anybody who witnessed it. With our jaws to the floor and eyes wide open only to see the quote on quote “tough-guy” who was in nothing but spoungebob boxers, sunglasses, and a hairbrush as a microphone singing into the mirror, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

Nick still hadn’t noticed that we were watching his show; the next tune on the radio was none other than Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” During Nick’s moonwalk across the floor, hairbrush in hand he turned to the right and finally acknowledged his audience. His only explanation was “I drank too much robitussin!”

My family and I learned much from this story. I learned, (which I don’t do anyway) is not too dance and sing in boxers thinking no one will see me. If something like this ever happened to me I would never show my face again. My family learned that this is completely embarrassing for anyone to find out, and that it shouldn’t happen again.















Dear Mr. Tennyson, This letter is informing you that your writing is inappropriate for the sophomore student. After a review of the material, in my opinion your work does not fit the criteria we set for the high school textbook. I believe that a good textbook should have positive and interesting thoughts, something that both holds the interests of and is appealing to the minds of a developing high school student. You Mr. Tennyson do not fit our vision of a good textbook. Your stories are too long, boring, violent and uncreative for the average high school student.

One of the reasons for rejection is your negative thoughts. The lines and thoughts in your poems are so long and evil. For example, In Memoriam (797) line twelve writing “to dance with death, to beat the ground”. The reader at first begins to feel sympathy and than is hit with evilness and violence. Plus this line sounds stupid, write something that will attract the readers attention.

Another reason for rejection is your stupid and boring way to drag on in your poems. It seems like the story you are trying to tell is never going to end, for example " So quickly, waiting for a hand, A hand that can't be clasped no more- behold me, for I cannot sleep, And like a guilty thing I creep, At earliest morning to the door"(797-799). To me this sounds like a child telling a story “and then, and then” get to the point! This tends to make readers less interested in your work. Try being more creative. Shorter stories that get to the point will help you out in the future.

I am not the only one who thinks of your writing as violent, uncreative, boring and not interesting, W.H Auden can agree with me. He says,” too, was ambivalent about the poem, and although he praised In Memoriam's melancholia, he considered Tennyson the stupidest of English poets." For further references you should take this letter into consideration. I am sorry your work does not fit what we are looking for. Your effort and work is appreciated, but maybe it will be a better experience for you next time. Thank You, Paul Politsopoulos


















There are a few writers and works that come to my mind when I think of superstition. Such as The Proverbs of Hell, Paradise lost, The Rape of the Lock, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and so on. The authors of these stories all use superstition and or supernatural effects. They try to get the readers to believe in the superstitious events of their work. Coleridge does the same in Fire, Famine, and Slaughter.

In Coleridge’s work he tends to confuse the reader, he often brings up a mystery of a four-lettered name causing all this tragedy, also by coming up with a different scenario each couple of stanzas. “ Slau: he came by stealth, and unlocked my den, and I have drunk the blood since then of thrice three hundred thousand men.” If you are the reader, you now begin to think that “ Slau” is the cause for all the tragedy, but two in two stanzas you’ll think otherwise, “ Fam: I stood in a swampy field of battle; with bones and skulls I made a rattle.” This is just a rough idea of what Coleridge is trying to get his readers to believe in and being that there is debate between two killers the reader starts to feel a little superstition of who the true killer is. We as readers are being pulled in to believe that this killer may be a spirit.

It sounds stupid but this superstition is simply revealing that British people and society had had many superstitions. Maybe do to the many tragedies they faced. Crops being burnt, mothers and children being starved, children dying, fires, and floods, which are mentioned in this text. Coleridge is almost leading us to think that the times the Brit’s were in were similar to the supernatural and superstitious act of Noah’s Arc. But it also makes the reader believe that there is an unknown plague going around or an unknown murderer wondering Britain.

Why isn’t this one of Coleridge’s top texts? Well, there are many reasons, but there is one good reason. ‘He did it, she did it, they did it, we did it,’ the reader rarely gets a chance to sit and dwell upon who the true murderer is. First it’s Fire, than there’s Slau, Fam, and finally the mysterious ‘ four lettered name.’ Other than that reason there could be another reason such as Coleridge using the tragedies as a metaphor for bad economic times for the British society. There are just too many things to be trying to figure out to enjoy this story.

Martin Britney who has studied much about Coleridge states how he believes Coleridge use of myth keeps piling up through his writings. Britney writes “ yet as meditations on three of Coleridge’s profoundest lyrics they gain still further depth by acquiring greater psychological complexity and fuller mythic response.” Here he explains how Coleridge has a massive use of myth, even in his better writings and poetry such as The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.





























Language, the most important way of communication, whether its English, French, Spanish, Chinese, or even sign language. It’s such a unique utensil, and if its going to be used as a way of communicating than it needs to be used properly, especially in the English language do to all of the criticism it gets. For example, you can take a five-lettered word or even a ten lettered word and see what significance it has to any person. The word “smart” is a simple example of this, it has been around the English language for so long and has done nothing great for our language, if anything its like a chewed up piece of gum waiting to be pulled off the bottom of a restaurant table.

A word can be compared to a fourth and fifth grade student, the fifth grader feels that he needs to beat up on the fourth grader just for the heck of it. The word “smart” is equivalent to the fourth grade student, because it has been smacked around so much,According to the American Heritage Dictionary it means “energetic and quick in movement” or “fashionable and elegant.” When was the last time you heard somebody use the word “smart” as being quick or fashionable, a more agreeable definition would be “ showing mental alertness and calculation and resourcefulness (WordNet/Princeton University Dictionary).” Sure, that is more of a sensible definition but the WordNet/Princeton University Dictionary also states as a second definition that “smart” means “elegant and stylish; to feel or have such a pain,” this definition agreeing with the American Heritage Dictionaries definition is not the way the word is used in the modern English language. Another definition, which just embarrasses the word “smart” itself and our language at the same time, comes from the Free Online Dictionary. According to the Free Online Dictionary “smart” means “hardware; incorporating some kind of digital electronics,” and the English language is suppose to be helpful and intelligent?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary “smart” has many definitions, as if we need anymore to confuse the world. The Oxford English Dictionary labels the word "smart" with some similar definitions that have already been mentioned, but it also gives a couple of definitions that were not listed already, such as “ a degree of smarting or painfulness”. A very unusual definition given from the Oxford English Dictionary is “suffering of the nature of punishment or retribution,” very rarely is the word “smart” used as a way for describing a beating or scorning inflicted on another person. A few more ways that the Oxford English Dictionary uses the word “smart” is as a “loss, damage, or adversity,” “smart money,” “smart-ticket,” and “smart-grass or smartweed.” These examples just go to show the flexibility and intolerance of the English language’s rules, there is almost no limit to the way a word can be used, it’s just stupid.

People should be able to comprehend almost all English words without having to ponder about what you just said to them. While using this word “smart” in its form from texts from the dictionaries used above with other people they were puzzled. When addressing Nick Politsopoulos by saying “ Nick, my finger feels kind of smart,” he looked at me with a confused face and said, “ speak English please!” So I asked him what first comes to your mind when you hear the word “smart,” he calmly answered by saying “ when I hear the word smart I think of it as someone who is intelligent.” Later on while carrying a conversation with Maria Politsopoulos, I randomly asked her “Maria what do you think ‘smart’ means?” “ Being smart is when you are smart and you know how to do karate,” was Maria’s response, quite a different perspective from one person to another. Vincent Cantelmo really nailed it on the head when he gave his perspective on the word “smart,” he almost regurgitates the same words as Nick Politsopoulos did “intelligent.. I guess…, someone with knowledge.” Maybe the word “smart” isn’t that much of an obstacle for the English language, but then Lisa Stylianou says “ Hmm… the word smart… to be sophisticated.” Joseph McGonegle’s two cents on what he thinks of the word “smart” was “intelligent or to hurt; a pain, I’m a crusader for the word smart.” This definitely shows that the word “smart’ isn’t getting through the same way to everybody.

One reason why our language is so diverse is because of how it has been used in old English literature versus the way it is being used in modern literature. Its first use around 1200 in Moral Ode 114 “Wa se sei et he bo hal him solf wat best hes smirte,” the usage of “smart” is spelled in a different way. This in comparison to its use in 1679 by Bunyan in his book Fear of Gods works, “Sorrow is the effect of smart, and smart the affect of faith,” in comparison to its first use the word “smart” had come a long way. “ He listed, but paid the smert and wan home (Jamieson’s Scholar Supply-)” Jamieson used this in his Scholar supply around the year 1887. ‘Smart’ had started from ‘smirte’ to ‘smart,’ which is the correct way to spell it, back to another wrong way ‘smert.’ Such a small word with a long and confusing history behind it!

Writers are using the word “smart” in new ways, smart-grass, smartweed, smart money, smart-ticket and so on. There are so many ways that this word can be used, do to all of its roots and definitions, Robert Baker uses the word “smart” during one of his endorsements in Business Week 3932 issue (108), “ Wal-Mart is a smart buy compared to other stores.” Smart, being used by Robert Baker as maybe being a bright idea or a good idea in benefit. A similar reference is made in USA Today’s May fifth 2005 issue, as John Waggoner says “Tax and smart saving.” The word “smart” is being so widely used, can everyone understand and comprehend it almost the same way as Robert Baker and John Waggoner have done, it’s a hard judgment to make when you’ve got about fifteen people who have used it differently.

Bilingualism is a major factor in America’s society these days, so making the English language as simplex as it can be will help out people from foreign countries that are trying to become American citizens. According to my personal experiences with bilinguals, thirty three percent of people who speak a foreign language as a first language knew correctly what the word smart meant and/or how to use it. When asking Angelo Napoli what the word “smart” means to him he said “it is to ah think, good school,” he was one of the three foreign language speakers that came close to using the word smart correctly. While speaking to a friend Luis Uribe he was slightly confused by the word I gave to him, he’s originally from the Dominican Republic and couldn’t really comprehend the word “smart” very well so he said,“I don’t know.”When foreigners who have been living in America for many years have trouble comprehending a simple word “smart’ it tells you that the English language is confusing and would be troublesome as an official language.**