English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  

Throughout my life and experiences with my family, many funny events have occurred. After brainstorming and thinking about events past, there is one event that I found to be humorous. From this event, I learned that my parents are not always right. Also, even though I am mostly wrong when it comes to arguing with my parents I can be right about some things. Parents do make mistakes, and sometimes they can be really embarrassed by them, as you will see. Like usual, when I used to have braces I went to my dentist for a monthly check up.

Off the top of my head, I’d say that this check up occurred roughly around mid January of the year 2003. What was different about this month’s appointment was that as a result of my dad’s meeting in Hartford, Connecticut my mom was taking me. When I was informed of this, I knew that it would be an eventful afternoon. My dentist’s office, which is located in Kenmore Square at the Harvard Vanguard building, has a very long, tall, winding ramp that you must drive up in order to get to the parking garage. On top of the fact that the ramp is very long, tall, and winding it is only one car wide and almost physically impossible to back out of. Not even I could have guessed what was going to happen when we arrived. Arriving at the building, we had to get a ticket on our way into the garage. As we entered, my mother was puzzled because there were two identical ramps, one up, one down with no signs, as a result of what looked to have been the played with by vandals. Because it had been this way for a while by now, I knew which ramp it was that we should have taken. Of course, my mother made the decision to go her way.

Not saying anything, I sat, and waited for chaos to strike. As we were about half way up the ramp, my mother looked at me frantically saying, “Why are these cars coming towards me?” Bringing up the point that it was I who had been right and she who had been wrong, my mother had no time to state her case for there were about seven or eight cars aggressively trying to get down the ramp. It was too late now for us to go back, so each of the cars were forced to back up and let us through. When we finally arrived at the top of the ramp, we were being beeped and sworn at, along with verbal gestures towards us, some that I had never even seen before.

My mother and I were very embarrassed. To be honest, I really was not embarrassed because hey, it felt good being right for once. That was the last time that I can remember my mom willingly driving me back to the dentist. Throughout my family life and experiences, this event seemed to be the most humorous and some what significant. I am not sure if my story will seem funny to other people, maybe you would have to know my mother. Although she seems kind of crazy in this story, my moms really a great and funny person.

If I had to think back, I would still say that this story, to me is the funniest thing that I can remember happening in my family. This may be the first time ever that I can finally say I enjoyed writing an essay. In closing, this is the most humorous family related event that I can remember occurring in my life.

















Dear Mr. Hopkins: From reading and reviewing the content in my sophomore text book, I have come to the conclusion that your work does not meet the criteria. In my opinion, an ideal textbook should contain literature that a student can understand and relate to, along with writing that will not put them to sleep. As tough as it was deciding which author I would eliminate from the next edition, I, along with other sources feel that you are the one that does not belong. This is nothing against you personally, but I feel that your work is not fitting for a sophomore English class. I feel this way because your material is not relevant to their everyday lives. Also, I feel that your writing lacks rhythm, and is very complicated to young minds.

Your poem, “Spring and Fall to a Young Child” is extremely complicated in its wording, especially to the mind of a tenth grade student. In line eight of this poem, you write, “worlds of wanwood leafmeal.” Not only do students ask themselves what that could possibly mean, most of the time they shut the book still wondering what that means. Also, in line four you talk of a young child’s “fresh thoughts” which would not concern any fifteen or sixteen year old kid that I know of. This is because obviously their minds are not that of a child any more. Because this poem lacks rhythm, and is very non-relevant to our everyday lives it is bitterly unenjoyable. All in all, “Spring and Fall to a Young Child” is one of the many reasons why you will not be included in next year’s textbook.

“Pied Beauty” is another one of your works located in the previous edition of our textbook. In the last line, you write “praise him” to end the poem. This is no way to end a poem directed towards young minds. Not only will they be wondering what you are talking about, religious outlooks will come into play. This is not what we are looking for in our textbook. As I found in many of your poems, “Pied Beauty” lacks rhythm, and does not have a certain flow to shape it. An example of lacking rhythm is in line one you write, “Glory be to God for dappled things.” Line two follows up by saying, “For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow.” By reading these lines you can tell that there is not consistency and it is very difficult to read. Also, in my opinion, poetry is meant to relax your mind, and take you away from the troubles of the world. I do not believe “Pied Beauty” does that for a reader. In conclusion, I am not very fond of your poem entitled, “Pied Beauty.”

From my research, I have come across a critic named William Logan who seems to have the same outlook on your writing as I do. He says,“the truth is I cannot stand Hopkins. His poems taste like ash in my mouth.” He also writes, “It is the compound interest of religiosity, perverse rhythm, rosaceous diction, the clatter of exclamations, plus the badly kept secret that Hopkins is often nearly unreadable.” Likewise, I agree with Mr. Logan on his thoughts towards your writing and I believe he is a very credible source.

Because of the many reasons that I have shown, I have decided that your work does not meet the expectations of work to be included in the next edition. Your work does not fit the criteria that I have set for sophomore English classes. Again, I want to make sure that you are aware of how difficult making this decision was. I hope that you would consider slightly changing your style of writing so that we could consider you in future editions. In closing, you Gerard Manley Hopkins will not be a part of the next edition of the sophomore English books.





















Throughout my studies of British Literature I have come across many authors who use superstition as a main component of their work. In focusing on this topic you come to realize how interesting and enjoyable some of these superstitious poems and stories may be. A particular piece that I have chosen to write about is a poem entitled “The Leprechaun” written by John Freeman. This is an Irish poem written in the early 1900s. I chose this poem because I am an Irish American and I would like to learn about my back round. Although John Freeman happens to be English, many trips to Ireland and love of the country must have brought him to writing this poem.

After reading John Freeman’s poem “The Leprechaun” I have come across many examples of superstition. One example is in lines three and for where he writes, “Lest some suburban Leprechaun might clasp, her youth in wild grasp.” This line sums up the stanza which infers that there is the amazing beautiful young girl who people fear to let out of their sight because of a sly leprechaun who may attempt to take all of that away from her. As we all know, there is no such thing as leprechauns in real life. This myth about the sly leprechaun is what I believe makes this poem so superstitious. All in all those are just two of the many superstitious lines throughout John Freeman’s poem, “The Leprechaun.”

This poem tells us many things about the author, John Freeman. One of the things that we learn about this author is that he shared a great belief and interest in Leprechauns, demons, and other creatures. Also, in my opinion I would have to say that this author is just a little crazy when it comes to this topic. Another thing that you could guess about the author is that he once knew a beautiful girl, apparently at a young age who came to and unfortunate most likely unexpected and sudden death. Lastly, from reading this poem you can tell that John Freeman had a great fear of death. In conclusion, those are only a few of the many things that you can tell about the author and his life from reading this poem.

“The Leprechaun” like almost all British Literature teaches us a certain lesson and can be valuable to our lives. One lesson that I believe this story teaches us is that if you have something valuable or someone that is important to you hold on forever and do not let them go. Also, you could say that one of John Freeman’s lessons is to teach the reader and remind them of how great the years of youth are and to not let them pass you by. In closing, those are a couple of lessons the author would want us to take from his poetry.






























Throughout many days of deliberation and brainstorming, I have chosen the English word “win.” I have found that this one word is what many people revolve their lives around, and would do almost anything at all costs to achieve. When most people hear the word win, they think of beating the opponent or something of that sort. I have interviewed ten people as to what their definition of the word win is and not even one of the definitions given to me was completely different from all the others. As I have found from researching, the word win has a very rich historical back round. Although win does date back quite a few years, peoples trend of thought towards it have varied a great deal and this I found to be extremely interesting. With the history of our words we can learn the history of our country and in doing this I believe that vocabulary will be widened.

The Oxford English dictionary provides a solid definition for the word win. As a verb, they use the word win as, “to be successful or victorious” or “a gain as a result of success or a conflict.” Also it can be used to describing the gaining of almost anything. Joe McGonegal gives his thoughts on the word win, “being undefeated, the opposite of a loss, a channel of traffic in New York City.” Although differing in some ways, his definition was rather close to that of the Oxford English Dictionaries. All in all, I feel that you can make a connection between the OED’s definition and almost anyone’s thoughts towards the word win.

When interviewing, I asked various acquaintances their definitions of the word win. The Following are the interview results: Mike Lawless “to beat the other team, or rolling snake eyes ha-ha.” Mark Dempsey “a royal flush wins me big money, but I’d have to say what the Pats have done three out of the last four years.” John Caruso “basically, to win is the leave on top you know what I mean, to finish in first.” Jacob Smith “to score more or to defeat your opponent in battle.” Chris Hunter “to be a champion, the opposite of a loss.” Paul Thompson “to score more runs, points, or goals.” Steve Bartlett, “the sox last year, just defeating that’s all it is, to be the best.” James Barry, “in life, what you work for, what you need to survive.” Derek Barnes, “to be a champion, first place.” As you can see, all of the results are not exactly the same, but they all have the same idea.

When asked what the word win meant I thought of it basically as beating the opponent. Over my studies and interviews, I have found that it pretty much does mean just that. I feel that win has both an equally positive and negative impact on the world. I feel this way because on the positive side, it gives people competitiveness and a reason to strive for the best. On the negative side it causes a great deal of hate and bad emotions, along with evil deeds and in my opinion a great deal of cheating and crime. In closing, my studies of the win were not so much surprising as they were enjoyable.