English 10: Writing Portfolio
|Essay the first: Origins|
|Essay the second: Literature|
|While I was rummaging through books about my family, I
found an interesting and funny story that dates back many years ago. It
begins halfway around the world about 105 years ago. I’m not sure which
trait I inherited from my great grandfather, but I’m sure I will pick up a
few of his traits as I grow older.
The year was 1899 and the great, Dante Vega, was born. He was born in Candida in the province of Avellino, Italy. For those of you who know Avellino, you will know that it has a very warm climate. Because Avellino has such a warm climate, Dante enjoyed living there. When Dante was 16 years old, he exaggerated his age and joined the Italian Army. While he was fighting in World War 1 he was wounded 5 times and received 3 medals for heroism. He was discharged from his duty and he requested he be sent to America. He left Italy in 1919 from Naples.
On the long, boring, journey across he was seated in tiny, small, cramp quarters. He did not like the seat he was given so he spent most of his time on deck. The boat arrived in Ellis Island on a freezing cold January day. While the ship passed the Statue of Liberty, all of the passengers on board rushed to the deck with great enthusiasm. The crowds started to cheer and scream and shout with joy. Dante was so excited about entering this new country that he waved his only overcoat over his head and threw it in the Hudson River! He soon realized how cold northeastern winters could be.
Dante never lost enthusiasm for living in America. He started a successful business and raised his family. He lived a long and healthy life and died at the age of 103. I suppose that I, like my great grandfather, loved to work for a living and loved life. Maybe loosing your coat in the dead of winter in the middle of the Hudson River is the cure for living a long, strong life. I asked him one day about how he lost his overcoat on the day the boat reached Ellis Island and he said, “ I was a damn fool ”.
Dear Matthew Arnold,
As you know, I was to create a list of authors who shall remain in the Prentice Hall Literature textbook for the year 2005. I have strenuously looked over everyone’s work and I am sorry to say that you are not going to make an appearance in the next issue. A truly good textbook should be able to fill the young aspiring sophomores head with the thirst to obtain more knowledge and to have fun while trying to learn it. This textbook is not just another English textbook that weighs about 20 pounds, which every sophomore will not even bother to open. It is a beautifully written textbook that every sophomore will open and by doing so, I must exclude you from the next edition. If I kept you in this textbook, you would be more of a chain tied around the book and locked, than a poet trying to publish his work. I think a good textbook should have many authors that the students should enjoy reading.
There is no doubt in my mind that you are questioning why I chose you to be the one omitted from the book. Well if you have not already torn this letter into a thousand pieces, here are some of many reasons as to why you were left out. “ To Marguerite – Continued” was too difficult to read. You used the words “enisled” and “severance” and “betwixt”. Most sophomores do not know what these words mean. Since the sophomores cannot understand theses words they probably will think your poems are boring and to hard to read. You said, “But when the moon their hollows lights” this line is too complex for a sophomore to understand.
In “Self Dependence” again you used to many big words. For example, “unaffrighted”. No sophomore will understand what you are saying. I had to take you out of this book because if sophomores read any of these poems, they will think all of the poems in the book are going to be as bad as the poems that you wrote.
“Dover Beach” can be summed up into one word: inaccurate. When someone is about to read a poem with the title “Dover Beach”, they want to picture in their mind of actually being on the beach and feeling the sea breeze hit their warm cheeks. When you describe it, it does not sound like you are actually there. Have you even been to Dover beach before? You said, “When the sea meets the moon–blanched land”. A sophomore will probably be thinking of being on the moon, instead of actually being on the beach.
Sophomores want to understand what you are saying and if it is written like that, then I can not keep you in the textbook. One critic said, “Arnold’s poetry has little humor, its ironies are unsubtle, it’s prevailing tone elegiac.” The same critic gave a new title to one of your poems, and it was “Dover Bitch”. Sophomores want to read something that they will enjoy reading and at the same time, learn something.
Many writers use superstition or some element of superstition in their works. Some of those writers include Shakespeare, Coleridge, and Blake. Even some of today’s writers are influenced by superstition. J.K. Rowling is known for her superstitious series of books called “Harry Potter”. Charles Dickens also was inspired by superstition when he was writing “A Christmas Carol”. One other writer that is not so popular is Claude Houghton.
“The Ivory Gate of Dreams” gets us to believe that there is an after-life for poets. “Athwart the night the souls of poets creep”. This explains to us that after poets die they linger around waiting for the Ivory Gates to open so that they may pass. Houghton apparently believes that there is a different after-life for poets. “And through the night the souls of the poets creep”. After poets die they go to the Ivory Gates to wait until they can go beyond the gates and into dreams.
Houghton could be saying that poets of the 20th century A.D. are of higher class. If she believes poets go to a different heaven than everyone else, she must say that poets are of higher class. This might be the reason as to why she is so unfamous. If she is talking about special places for only poets, than she will not win the support of many people, which will make her popular.
This work has not been taken into serious consideration because what person would want to hear some lady talk about a better heaven that only poets can go to. This poem should not be taken seriously because it is not fare that poets get to be treated differently.
According to News World Communications, Inc. “Anything and everything is charged with the supernatural: the mysterious earthen burial mounds known as raths; river crossings, sea caves, turreted craggy outcrops; lakes, islands, and sunken grassy pathways; even the solitary blackthorn bush. All have the reputation of being "gentle" places, fairy places, haunted by apparitions of the land.” This could be related to “The Ivory Gate of Dreams” because the ghosts were haunting earth and its creations while waiting to enter through the gates.
As Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar would say “Wayne’s World, party time, excellent!” These two characters would often say the word “excellent” profusely, maybe because that is how they wanted to express their feelings. Or it is possible that they thought the word was just fun and easy to say. What ever it was, they still used it frequently and by using it, they glorified it.
The English language today is entirely different from when it first was used so many years ago. Although this may be true, the word “excellent” still holds its rich old definitions. This word has definitely helped English language by keeping its’ classic roots and therefore, revives the language. We have the Latin’s to thank for the creation of the word “excellent”. You may find yourself asking the question, “What does the word “excellent” mean?” Well, the American Heritage School Dictionary defines the word “excellent” as “the highest quality; very fine.” There you have it; it is staring you in the face, the definition of the word “excellent.” I looked it up in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and the American Heritage Dictionary and they both agree that the word “excellent” means “of the highest or finest quality.” As you can see, three different dictionaries are in agreement as to the definition of “excellent”.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “excellent” is defined as “excelling, or achieving the highest quality.” That definition is used in present participle. Excellent, used in adjective form is defined as, “a person or thing that excels or surpasses in any respect.” Did you know the word “excellent” could also be used as an emphatic expression of praise or approval, whether of persons, things, or actions? At least that is what the Oxford English Dictionary has to say.
Now that we have the basic understanding of the word, “excellent”, some people gave me their insight as to what they thought the word meant. Mostly everyone’s answers were somewhat similar. For example, Bob Macrelli Sr. thought the word “excellent” meant “the best a person can do.” Patrick Devine of Dorchester also said the same. Ellen Macrelli said “excellent” meant “the best, none better.” Elena Macrelli believes the word means, “good job.” As you notice, these definitions have some logical link connecting each other.
There were, however, a few random interpretations. Some people, like my cousin Joe DeAngelo say that the word “excellent” to him meant “party time!” Mike Dwyer, while wearing his Patriot Super Bowl shirt said the word “excellent” to him meant “winning the Superbowl and World Series in the same year.” Another person who had a completely different answer from everyone else was Joe McGonegal. Joe had two definitions for the word. His first answer was “a word that a middle school teacher put on a paper that received a top score.” His second definition was quite a bit different from the first. He said it meant, “devious, power abusing, money hungry perfectionist.” There is no question that the word “excellent” adds flavor to the English Language because it can be used to describe so many things.
The history of the word itself goes back about 605 years. It was then that we first saw it in a text. The year was around 1400 and the Beryn 1110 said “Some fair, lusty lady, that of pulchritude were excellent al other.” That was the first time it was used in the history of text. Well, we do not see this word again for about 25 years. In 1425, Wyntown Cron. VII vii15, Tat Prynce excellent in vyschome All Pryncis of e Crystyndume.” Again “excellent” goes into the shadows for an even longer time. It was 88 years after the second usage of the word when it showed up again. 1513 was the date and Douglas was the author. Douglas used the word in a sentence saying, “Eneas excellent all the lave.” Is it not so impressive to see the usage of the word from old times? Some famous writers used the word “excellent” as well, such as Billy Shakespeare in Tit. A II iii 7 “A very excellent peace of villainy.” Or if you did not hear of Shakespeare maybe you have heard of Mary Shelley in her work called Julian 242 “Those absurd deceits.. carry through the excellent imposters of this earth.”
One critic that had an interesting way of using “excellent” was Ian Ashbridge in Farmers Weekly 4/15/2005, Vol. 142 Issue 15, p 29 1/3p “Value of the heifer purchased by buyer Weeton Jackson, Number of VG cows and Excellent dams offered; Information on the Rosie Family.” Although you may say to yourself that that is a strange way to use the word, K.C. Majumdar, S.K. Chattopadhyay and M. Ghosh really put the icing on the cake with strange ways to use “excellent”. In Letters in Organic Chemistry; Jul2005, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p231, 4p “Hitherto unreported 3-(aryloxyacetyl)-2,3-dihydrothieno[3,2-c]benzothiopyran-4-ones (4a-f) were synthesized in excellent yield by the application of the tandem [2,3] and [3,3] sigmatropic rearrangements of the 4-(4' -aryloxybut-2'-ynylthio)benzothiopyran-2-ones (3a-f).” As you can see, they are really trying to stretch and use the word.
Autumn is the marking that winter is coming.
"The lady of the Lot"