English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  It was the day after the biggest snow storm I have ever seen. About six years back on a cold but sunny after the April storm. My brothers and I decided to make a snow fort. We sure didn’t know what was going to happen to my older brother. This experience with my brothers showed me how fun a family can have together over non sense.

My older brother who at that time, was around thirteen. He was the older brother who always was plotting schemes on how to bully my little brother and me. My little brother was seven and by the time he was ready to go out in the snow he looks like he was ready to take off for space, with all of his clothing gear. Meanwhile my dad was outside shoveling the snow into one pile for us. When we all finally were out building our fort Andrew, the oldest brother shoved snow down both my brothers back and mine. Me and Vince, the youngest called him the Grinch because he took the fun right out of building a fort. Mine and Vincie’s plan was to make the fort only big enough for him and we were going to trap him in there, like a mouse caught in a mouse-trap after cheese. When we finally finished our fort of course Andrew was the first person in. we laughed in our minds because he didn’t know that we were going to get him back for the snow down our backs. Finally we attacked the fort and completely trapped him into it. He yelled at us to get him out because he had no clue what was happening. Me and Vincie just laughed at him and said that he shouldn’t have dumped snow down our backs. After a few minutes we told our father that the fort had collapsed on him and we sneaked inside before he was able to get out.

What I learned from this experience was that families can have good times together. Families do not always have to be so serious all the time. Brothers will be brothers and there will be times like this when the older brother who usually beats up on the younger ones will get his turn to get laughed at. They say that what goes around comes around.


















Dear Alfred Lord Tennyson,

 As the head of the board for the commission of the next edition, this year our main goal is short, but comic poems. Your writing mostly does not pertain to this. All though we highly regard you as a great poet of the Victorian age, we feel that your poems are too long, no rhythm, and not funny. Even though you’re a great poet we the editors are not looking for your style of poetry.

 As you know or goal for next year’s edition is to have many short and comedic poems. The reason why we want this type of poetry is because we are targeting sophomores in high school. These students will more likely read poems that are amusing rather then long boring poems. To prove to you that your poems are too long is your story of the “Lady of the Shalot.” We do not consider this in anyway a short poem let alone comedic. Because of your writing we can not accept your poems into our next year’s edition.

Another example of why you were not selected for our new edition is because your poems are in no way comedic at all. After reviewing all or your poems we found that you are not a comedian. In order to have a comedic poem we feel that there should have a good rhyme scheme to poems, in general. All of your poems use an A, A, A, rhyme scheme. Without good rhythm our committee feels that sophomores in high school will not be interested in your writings.

 It is not only the editors and I who believe your work is horrendous, but other critics feel the same way. Robert Bernard Hass, a British critic says, “W.H. Auden, considered Tennyson the stupidest of English poets.” (The Autumn 98, volume 38 issue 4 pg 669 first paragraph). When trying to select you into our next edition we searched for critics who believed you should join the other authors selected for our new books. We could not find any authors who did this, therefore we are writing this letter to you only to say that you are not accepted to be in our new edition.

Sincerely, Rob Ryan and staff




























Through out many peoples lifetime, someone has either questioned or believed in superstition. Superstition can either be something that someone does in order to succeed, because they think doing this will do so. For example sports players do not shave there beard as they continue in the playoffs because they think it might be good luck. Superstition can also be a mysterious and sometimes even a bad thing. In Ireland, there is a legendary superstition about a mysterious creature, a banshee. Banshees are said to bring death in family’s to whoever hears there cry of the banshee. Many people have claimed this had happened and have even written stories about the infamous banshee. Over hundreds of years Ireland has been cursed with this type of superstition.

There have been over thousands of stories written about the banshee’s cry. One story that most people have never heard of is the story by Lady Gregory. This story was taken from the book, Irish Folktales, and the story is called, “the banshee cry’s for the O’Brien’s.” This folktale takes place in western Ireland at a province called Galway. The O’Brien family was raised in Galway and always heard tales about the banshee. In the family the husband of Mrs. O’Brien, Anthony was struck ill. “As I was passing, I heard crying, crying from the hill were the forth’s are, and I thought it must be for Anthony, and that he was gone,” said the wife. The daughter Ellen said, “I heard the mourn- fullest crying that ever you heard just behind the house…. It must be the banshee.” As the story progress’s Anthony passed away later that night, and the banshee struck the O’Brien family. In Ireland these stories are common about the banshee, but in other places like Britain right next to Ireland, they’re not. People should take this stories seriously because one day the banshee could strike anyone, so people should be aware of what can happen.

In my family there is a personal story about the banshee. When my uncle and his family used to live in Ireland (Galway), my great uncle became real sick. At this time my uncle was only twelve but he said, in the middle of the night while his father was sick he heard the banshee’s cry. What he told me was that he stayed up all night praying for his father. And the next mourning his dad never woke up from his sleep. Because of this story I believe in the Banshee, and my uncle knows that the banshee is true.

Even though many people in Ireland have witnessed or believe in the banshee, there are still people who doubt the legend of the banshee. Some people who read the story by Lady Gregory believe in what she said and some people don’t. Through research at EBSCO I was able to find a critic who not only doesn’t believe in her stories but criticizes all of her work. This critic who has discussed this work said that, “Lady Gregory was won who’s work ‘added shame to Ireland.”(EBSCO, terrible beauty/lady Gregory, fifty years after. Reviews & products pg 265). Superstition can be a good or bad thing, but it can also be taken seriously or as a joke. If someone has ever traveled to Ireland they will realize that the tale of the banshee is true.

























Through out the world, English is a very dominant language. It has influenced many nations all across the globe. Some countries feel that the English language has brought wealth to the country. They bring wealth to the country because of a heavily populated English culture. Other countries feel negative towards the language because they have been “oppressed” by it. All in all, there are many English words that will always have a positive effect. A word like “thanks”, in places all over the world can only help people when speaking or in daily life because this one single word.

Although English is a rapidly growing language, it is a fairly young language. When English is compared to other languages like Latin or Hebrew, for example the language is young in history and culture. From the New English Dictionary, “thanks” is a plural noun. It means “Grateful feelings or thoughts; gratitude: a heart full of thanks for our escape”. “An expression of gratitude: give thanks to God; a note of thanks to a contributor.” Another source of this word’s etymology is, The Merriam Webster Dictionary. This word is defined as, “To express gratitude to.” The last definition of the word that we use today is from the American Heritage Dictionary. The definition is the exact same as the one from dictionary.com. In three dictionaries they say that the root of the word comes from the Old English word called “thancian”. From these three dictionaries, we learn that the word has one stable definition and it is clear that the word originated from Old English.

The word “thanks” as the Oxford English Dictionary (O.E.D.) defines it has many different meanings and a lot of history. The word began in the first millennium (1000c.e.). In those times the definition was, “Favourable thought or feeling, good will; graciousness”. Today this definition is not used as this example any more, it is now obscure. During the Middle English time period “thanks” meant, “A much abbreviated expression of gratitude for a favour received or recognition of a service.” The word “thanks” as we use it today is now defined as, “the expression of gratitude, the grateful acknowledgement of a benefit or favour.” As you can see, this word has had a relatively similar but yet different meaning over the years.

In our language today many Americans use the word “thanks” very frequently. When I asked ten people if they say “thanks” at least once a day they all said yes. A few ways common Americans use thanks is a meaning of, “A compliment”. Also, “Appreciation for one another”. When asking a few friends what they thaught “thanks” means I got replies like, “It means gratitude to someone for their good deeds” (John Foley). My friend Ryan Stoller said, “Giving someone respect”. A few weeks ago as I was buying a drink at the store a clerk thanked me and I asked him about the meaning. This is what he said, “My appreciation to you”. Angela Ryan said that it means, “Telling someone you care about them”. This woman happens to be my mother. When asking many more adults on their own definition one hundred percent had a positive definition. A final adult who was asked about their thoughts on the word “thanks” was Joseph McGonegal, a British Literature teacher at CM. his response was, “thanks a lot”. As you can see “thanks” is a very positive word contributing to the English language.

Since “thanks” has been an English word for over one thousand years, many famous poets and writers have all used “thanks” in their own way. The very first meaning of the word “thanks”, which is now not spoken anymore, was used in the Bible. The O.E.D. states that during the translation of the Bible from Latin to English, “thanks” originated through the Bible. One of the most famous poet and writer of all time created his own definition. During the year fifteen-ninety-six, this word was defined as, “A way to express gratitude". This definition is now used today as a way to “give thanks”. In eighteen-eighty-eight, King Elfred of England used “thanks” in old English as, “If thou wilt doe good, know whom thoudoest it, and there shall be much thanke” (Boeth. XIII). All through out history, many poets, books, and writers all have used the relatively same positive definition.

For languages that are not primarily English speaking languages, they are most deffinatly heavily influenced by its culture. For example in France, their native language is French. Although their national language is French, someone speaking English could fit in without knowing a word of French. This happens all through out countries without English as their national language. In nineteen-fifty-five my grand mother, who is now seventy-eight came to America from Italy. When I asked her what the word “thanks” meant to her, she told me a short story. What she said was when arriving at Ellis Island in New York; the first thing a man said to her was “thank you for coming to America.” This must have had an extremely positive influence on her because she did not know anyone. Another person who feels that “thanks” can only positively affect the world is Mr. Tracey. He is a foreign language speaker who has taught French and Spanish for many years at Catholic Memorial. This professor’s comment was, “Thanks is a wonderful word that helps people who speak different languages learn the English culture.” As you can see the English language effect’s many people who speak other languages and can help them to understand our own language easier.

Within the English language the word “thanks” is changing daily. For example the word has changed definitions many times over hundreds of years. It is also being used in other ways then “thanks” today. The word is being hyphenated into longer, and more in detailed meanings. In the magazine, American Cheerleader, “thanks” is used as “thanks-a-lot.” In any other magazine called the Economist, “thanks” is used as “thanks-a-bunch.” Today these word’s are hyphenated, but tomorrow they could be real words.