English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  

One night at the dinner table, the topic of my grandfather comes up. We were talking about how he was a bargain hunter and how he would do almost anything to save a few dollars. My father remembered a story about him and started telling it. This story shows how people will do anything in order to save money.

“A few years ago your grandfather was going on a trip to Romania. He was going on the trip by himself, which meant that all the decisions would be made by him.”

Grandpa got off the plane, picked up his belongings, and went to the part of the airport where you rent cars. Grandpa approached the desk and asked to rent a car.” The lady said yes, and Grandpa filled out the papers and rented his car. When you rent a car, you would normally rent it to go places, but not Grandpa.

When Grandpa’s trip came to an end, he had to return his rental car at the airport. He walked up to the desk and turned in the keys. He filled in the required information but he left one part blank, the miles. The lady asked him why he didn’t fill out the mileage part. He replies by saying, “Oh, ah because I only went one mile”. The lady looked and finally realized that he is not joking around with her.

After hearing this story, I realized that I must have some good money-saving genes in me from my Grandpa. Hopefully in the future, I will not be that broke that I will have to sleep in a rental car!























Dear Mr. Larkin,

The decisions regarding the Prentice Hall Literature book for the 2004-2005 school year were very tough. Unfortunately, the poems that you sent us did not make the cut. In the new edition of Prentice Hall, we were looking for a variety of criteria’s in which your poems did not meet. We do not believe that your poems would spark the interest of a student reading the book.

One poem in particular really stood out to us. The poem “Days”, was one of the reasons why your work did not meet out standards. In the new edition we were looking for a book that is open to a wide range of students. This poem would counter our attempt. Quoting from the poem, the first line reads, “What are days for?” After reviewing this line, we can foresee controversy that may arise in the future. Because we want as many schools buying this book, we want to be as politically correct as possible. This poem could cause a problem, and it is a risk we are not willing to take.

While reading your works we found that they do not pertain to a sophomore’s life, and they tend to be for mature audiences only. Backing us up is Daniel Torday, who wrote, “One who wrote novels about lesbians and poems about casual sex, and could never really commit to a woman, lying and cheating…” After reading that, it helped us to better our decision. Sophomores in high school should not be reading and studying poems of this nature.

We thank you for sending your work into the Prentice Hall Literature book. As we said before, the decisions were tough to make. Prentice Hall recommends all of the authors who were not accepted to send in their works again, next year, when it comes time to make a new literature book.

Thank You, Matthew May





























British literature has always been known for its contribution to good literature with novels, short stories, and poems. Many of these works include superstition as a part of their success. One major work of British literature that deals with superstition is “The Lady of Shalott”. In this poem, if the Lady of Shalott looks anywhere but her mirror she will die. She ends up looking away from the mirror when a man she likes walks by. There are many works of British literature out that deal with superstition that are not known, or taken seriously. One work of British literature that is not known is Charles Dickens’s, “The Haunted House.”

In this short story, the superstition is about a haunted house that people are curious about. This is a very believable superstition because in today’s world there are always deserted houses that people say are haunted. The story’s superstition reveals many things about the people of this time. In the 1800’s, when the story was written people were getting more and more interested in ghosts, myths, and superstitions. One cause for this may be the advance in science, not thinking that everything happens because of religion. The haunted house is a common theme superstition among people of today. This is one of the reasons why it is not taken seriously. Since there have been many books about haunted houses and ghosts, it is hard for any one book to stand out because there are so many around. Also people probably want a more original story. You can see how in Dickens’s story that he tries to pick a setting in which it is not known to be a scary setting. Textual evidence of this comes from Chapter 1 Pg. (3), “ Under none of the ghostly surroundings, did I make acquaintance with the house….” This quote explains how Dickens is self conscience about the story being about a haunted house, thinking that the story is not original enough.

People should read this story because it is interesting to read about how people two-hundred years ago still thought the same about deserted houses and ghosts. Superstition is very interesting to read about because in some ways it is unpredictable, and in good stories the author always keeps you guessing what will happen next. In the March magazine of “History Today” Alec Gill states, “The gambling spirit and hoping for good luck are rooted in the human will to survive -- even against the odds. Superstition and survival are plaited together throughout history.” This quote explains by adding superstition to literature, it can add a nice twist to a story, make the plot more interesting, and create conflict. Also it tells why superstition has been around literature for so long, and why it will probably never go away.

Superstition is the main reason why Harry Potter series has done so well. Even in today’s world, superstition always remains a huge part of literature. It has been proven throughout history










































Language is a form of communication that has been used since the beginning of time. There are many different types of languages around the world with new words made up for these languages everyday. English is one of these languages, and has started to take over other languages. Many countries that have languages other than English as their primary language still learn, and speak the English language. This series of events puts down other languages, making them look less important just because of the English language. Why should English be more important than another language? It shouldn’t. “Monster” is a word that has contributed to the uprising of the English language and the downfall of the other languages.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “monster” as, “an animal or plant of abnormal form or structure; especially: a fetus or offspring with a major developmental abnormality”. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “monster” as “An imaginary or legendary creature, such as a centaur or Harpy that combines parts from various animal or human forms. 2. A creature having a strange or frightening appearance. WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University defines “monster” as “n 1: an imaginary creature usually having various human and animal parts”. As you can see from three listings, most dictionaries’s come up with same general meaning for monster as a noun. “Monstere” originated in Middle English spelled monster. That came from Old French., and the French word came from the Latin m nstrum, portent. All these words came from the Indo-European root mon re, to warn. As you can see, “monster” has a rich history and has transferred from language to language ever since its birth.

Since its birth in 1375, monster has accumulated many definitions over the 630 years it has been used. According the Oxford English Dictionary, Chaucer was the first author to have used “monster” in print. The word was used in 1375 in Monk’s Tale; “Was nevere wright sith that this world bigan that slow so manye monstresas dide he”. Some definitions are still in tact and some are obsolete. “Monster-little-man” is now obsolete from the English language but at one time it was used. It means, “An abnormally small person”. It was used from 1607 to 1814. “Monsterful” was another word once used but now is no longer in use. It meant, “Marvelous, extraordinary”. “Monsterhood” was another form of monster that is not used anymore. The word was born in 1460, first used in the Tale of Beryn. The word was a noun meaning, “the state or condition of being a monster”. It was last used in 1852 in Fraser’s Magazine.

We have talked about what monster means in dictionary’s and its history, but what does it mean to people on the streets today? Michael Hechavarria was asked this question and responded by saying, “Monster means a scary creature under my bed”. Jessica Pellegrini says that monster means, “Big scary nonhuman thing”. Charlie Isberg’s definition of monster was “a big thing”. Out of the ten people asked, 70% of the people responded by saying the same general meaning. 30% defined monster as an adjective.

Throughout time, news words are made and new definitions for words are added into the dictionary. For the word “monster”, the latest definition not yet in the dictionary, came from Sporting News. The new definition of monster is used in this line; “The risk is that Ramirez, 26, could produce back-to-back monster seasons.” If this use of monster continues to be used, it may someday be published in a dictionary. This quote would claim to be the first to use it because it has been published in text. Before many new definitions are published, they will be used in society as slang and eventually the words are published. This is usually the process in which new definitions are found and published.

“Monster” is a word recognized by foreigners but is not spelled the same in different languages. In Spanish it is spelled monstruo. In French it is spelled mosntre. You can conclude that in two major languages, the spelling for monster is pretty much the same with a few exceptions. This helps the bilingualism because it is easy for foreigners to get accustomed to a new language because it can be memorizes easily because the spelling is so similar. The word “monster” has helped the English language create many stories and has helped kids develop a good imagination. It has helped bilingualism in the world through the many stories about monsters. Monster has helped the English language and will continue to throughout time.