English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  For as long as I can remember I have always tried to be like my Dad. Now that I am a teen I try to be myself and independent, but despite my efforts I become more and more like my dad. I started to act like a “Tobin” in kindergarten, and like my Boston accent it will keep getting worse the older I get.

It all began in Ms. Prout’s kindergarten class at Broadmeadow Elementary School, in Needham, Massachusetts. After circle time and a rather exciting free time, filled with a one ft. by three ft. version of the Great Wall of China, the teacher called each student over individually to get a grasp of our academic progress. Then it came, “James, it’s your turn to fill in your Must Do”

I reluctantly dragged myself away from my architectural masterpiece to complete my “Must Do.” Ms. Prout asked me to color in a picture, so I quickly dispensed of this thoughtless waist of time, to get back to my Bullfinch like creation. Then Ms. Prout scurried her way over and said “James, you colored outside the lines!” Then it came, the first true sign of a “Tobin” in this pretentious six-year old child. “Ms. Prout,” I said “it’s just coloring, what’s the point?” The look on her face was so priceless, it was only worthy to seeing the ghost of The Great Bambino. She promptly called for a parent teacher conference, with a concerned mother and my dad; a bigger yet only slightly more mature version of the “problem child.”

Ms. Prout brought to my parents attention what had occurred in class earlier that week which drew an uncensored response, “well, it is just coloring.” Stomp! My mother unsuccessfully attempted to cut off my father’s rash comment, and my dad embarrassingly rethought his response, enough to gather himself to stand by his slightly smaller less mature version of himself.

This story shows how my family is always willing to stand up for each other. I have learned how much I am like my dad, and how much my dad was like my grandfather. Despite our sarcastic comment and immature jokes my family’s loyalty to their loved ones can never be interfered with.



















Dear George Orwell,

I regret to inform you, that we cannot use the work you have sent us for the 2005 Prentice Hall British Literature textbook. The work you sent us does not meet the standard criteria for our sophomore textbook. Your writing shows much promise, however it displays and speaks of views in which young adolescents cannot grasp. Our goal at Prentice Hall is to accurately convey the various writing techniques, and the authors who write them, in an understandable way for a young audience.

In many cases you write about politics and in “1984” the entire book is an anti-government political disgrace and has been called “an abuse and misuse of the English language” says Jim Berkes of the University of Manitoba. I’m looking for a Charles Dickens-esque author that can properly portray the manner in which a Victorian author writes. Being somewhat science fiction, your work does not obtain the qualities of a classic literary piece.

Your writing ability is extraordinary, and I would love to see some of your other work that better suits our needs. I strongly encourage pursuing a writing career. If you put together some writing that meets our requirements, we would love to read it and consider it for publication. Hopefully it is easier for you to read this than it was for me to write this, and I hope you continue along this path.

Best of Luck, James Tobin


















Throughout British history many English authors have used superstition in their works. An example of an author using superstition in his work would be Shakespeare in “Macbeth”, when Macbeth constantly hallucinates. Another example would be Golding’s “The Lord of the Flies.” The Thurnley Abbey uses rumors to spread supernatural ghost stories throughout a small village for no reason other than to be cruel and inhumane.

The story is told by Alistair Colvin, about an experience he had in India while staying with an acquaintance, Broughton, from a previous trip. Broughton, after traveling extensively, settled down and married his short time love. Soon after marriage, the couple moved into the dilapidated estate, The Thurnley Abbey. Its former tenant, a hermit by the name of Clarke, made a point to spread rumors of ghosts throughout the town. Not only did he these spread rumors, but he lived a secret life carrying out acts of “buffoonery”. Clarke lived in solitude often using candles or a lone light after dark.

Broughton took over the Abbey and began renovating the entire property including adding an addition and electricity to rid the estate of ghosts and therefore superstition. The rumors spread by Clarke clearly added nervousness to the village and it became evident when the workers would rarely stray from each other. It was said the workers would even continue to talk to maintain comfort level when moving about the rooms. Despite the fact that Broughton thought that he could rid the town of supernatural ideas towards the Abbey, as time went on Broughton himself began to change as a person. When Colvin arrived at the grand estate, he noticed a difference in the way Broughton carried himself. It was clearly noticeable to even the most typical townsman.

After a night of socializing at the Abbey, talk of the rumors regarding ghosts started to surface as the evening went on. Variations of stories had been passed from group to group terrifying some and further proving Colvin’s initial disbelief towards the supernatural. The Broughtons and Colvin talked into the late night when finally going to their respective rooms, Broughton commented “You know where I am”. Colvin crept into bed to read and rehash the prior discussions. Later in the night, Colvin awoke to the silence of his bedroom. The eeriness of the room caused slight panic. Colvin’s retelling of the story includes a brutal fight with a skeleton ending with a cut hand and leaving the room in disarray. The Abbey was in panic as dawn approached yet when he returned to the place of attack, the only sign of trouble was the blood from the cut on his hand.

The manner in which the civilians of the town reacted represents the time as well as the people in early- mid 1900s. The townspeople reacted in a way typical of British society further proving the presence of superstition and the weight of oral tradition. The story also represents how despite religious views the supernatural can alter one’s personal beliefs and state of mind.



































Languages are a compendium of orally passed and written words collected over a long period of time. Some languages have been passed by the spread of culture to large groups of people. An example would be the Greek language and its culture throughout the Roman Empire. Although Greek spread through many nations and changed the way of life for many people, no language in the history of the world has been as dominant as English. English has a great diversity of words and phrases that are not featured in other languages. An example of an English word is “execute,” which has made a terrible contribution to the world as we know it.

Although not found in the earliest texts, the word “execute” (ek’si kyoot’) was first seen written betweens the years 1350 C.E and 1400 C.E in middle English literature(executen).Coming from the derivative of Latin “executus”. Webster’s Dictionary has “execute” meaning; to carry out or accomplish. Similarly, the American Heritage Dictionary has “execute” meaning to create in accordance with a prescribed design. On the other hand, Funk and Wagnall’s Dictionary has “execute” meaning to kill or assassinate, by capitol punishment.

As mentioned, there are many usages for words in the English language that make it particularly unique. While at a cocktail party I was talking with a few family members, when I spoke with Joe Beaudet concerning the word “execute” he said, “execute is to properly carryout a play in a sport.” When moseying my way around and chatting with some other family members a realized they all connected execute with a similar definition. After asking Jack Keating he said “to be executed is to be killed without mercy or the opportunity to defend yourself.” Similar to this after speaking with Chris O’Laughlin is interpretation of the word was “um... it’s like at the end of Brave Heart when they chop that guy up.” These understandings that other people have for the word are evidence that “execute” does not help the world prosper in any way. Many famous authors have used the word execute in their writing. An example of a famous if not the most well prolific writer in the history of mankind, Shakespeare used the word “in fellest manner execute your arms.” Another great example would be Charles Dickens, who wrote “the boy departed to execute his mission.” Like Shakespeare and Dickens, Chaucer used the word “execute;” however, he was noted to be the first writer ever to publish it in his literature. Chaucer wrote: “The destine are destine to be executeth.” Although Dickens is known for writing fairly if not very positive works, William Shakespeare is know for writing some of the best but most depressing pieces of writing in the history of literature. This shows the negativity of the word and how it is used in very sorrowful settings.

“Execute,” is not only used in the English language. Another language that execute is a part of is Spanish were it is spelt “ejecutar.” The English and Spanish spellings are fairly alike. The French word “executer” is strikingly similar to the English translation. On the other hand the Italian word “per eseguire” is nothing like the English spelling but the first letter. At the opposite end is the German word “un durchzufuhren” which in no way resembles the word execute. While comparing the English to the German I recognized the end of the word is “fuhren” which is similar to the name Adolf Hitler gave himself “Fuhrer,” or leader. This is odd because Hitler is notorious for the number of executions his Nazi army performed against “inferior races” during WWII. This further pushes my dislike for the word “execute,” and hopefully shows its darker side.

The pain and suffering caused throughout oppressive and revolutionary times by execution were unbearable. The evil and darkness within the word “execute,” cannot be outweighed by any other definition the word presents. Like all words it has a place, but that place hopefully will be forgotten or lost to spare the world from more unnecessary suffering.