English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  

One of the more comical characters in my family is my grandmother, Jean. My grandmother was a daughter of two Sicilian immigrants (interestingly enough from the town of Corleone, the one from the Godfather.) Jean or Nana as my family calls her was a child of a family of sixteen children. Nana was born in New Orleans, and then moved to Kansas City, moved to New York City where she met my grandfather, finally they moved to Baltimore where my mother was born. Nana is still today often cited in comical references, this is because she is one of the funnier members of my family, although it was completely unintentional. Nana lived alone on a farm in Timonium (my father called it Pandemonium) for most of my life with her ancient half deaf half blind cocker spaniel named Sheba and her 1988 Chevy celebrity complete with peeling white paint, Dog food embedded in the seats, and a medal of the virgin Mary violently duct taped to the dash (which is now my car and has been affectionately named the Shaggin’ Wagon).

One of the more memorable and comical points in my grandmother “career” deals with my great aunt Rose. Rose was the sister Jean most closely associated with and lived with until after New York when they parted and Rose returned to Kansas City. At the ripe age of 83 Rose was sent to “the home” When my grandmother, who was 81 at the time, learned of her sisters “exile” immediately following her gaining knowledge of this my grandmother with her dog climbed into aforementioned car and drove off. Many hours later in Missouri an unsuspecting concierge was approached by a woman wishing to see her sister, the concierge politely directed her in her desired direction. Moments later frenzied masses were rushing through the halls to the beat of a shrilling alarm in hopes of escaping the fictional fire. Meanwhile Jean and Rose reunited again and began their journey north.

This story demonstrates to you readers a few things about my family. First of all, it shows that my family is fiercely loyal to those who we care about. This is demonstrated by the hundreds of miles she drove just to reach her sister and then repeated them again on the way back. Second of all, it shows that my family is both resourceful and ruthless in our methods. This is demonstrated by the fact that my grandmother pulled the fire alarm, not only is this illegal, it’s highly likely that someone got hurt in all of the frenzied running that follows the awareness of a fire in the vicinity. Although my grandmother is now dead, her tradition lives on. Whenever someone sees in my kitchen that one of the chairs is moved to a particular place (something that my grandmother would always do, however much it annoyed my mother) my dad remarks about my grandmother’s ghost.
































Throughout the ages the very essence of any word may become so fogged and misconstrued that it is hardly recognizable through the ages. Or perhaps like an island in a flood, as the very fabric of a language collapses. “Mankind” may hold out. The American Heritage Dictionary defines our word as “the human race, humankind” this is merely a sliver of our languages pollution of human communication. Princeton University defines mankind as “all of the inhabitants of the Earth ‘all the world loves a lover’” the inclusion of this quite seems to speak for the languages universal effect. Merriam Webster’s Medical Dictionary defines the word as “the totality of the human race” this definition implies an all encompassing nature. The Oxford English Dictionary is one of the most respected authorities of our time on the subject of English.