English 10: Writing Portfolio
|Essay the first: Origins|
|Essay the second: Literature|
As my family and I relaxed peacefully in the living room, my brother and I sat breathlessly as oral tradition, stories of family legends, and other things were traded among the elders. My grandmother had just finished with the story of her amazing escape out of a whirlpool in the Caribbean. I forgot to mention that I come from a very big family so stories may some times get twisted, but still portraying the same message. I am not saying that these stories are myths, or that my family is just a horde of liars, it is just that my family has a big imagination. The story telling was almost finished when my mother began laughing to herself, she had remembered a childhood story and was now preparing to enlighten us. The story started like this…..
It was a hot summer day in the year 1979. School was out for the children of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. So the kids ran about looking fun things to do and things to show off. My mother grew up in a part of the D.R. called La Romana, but during the summer she stayed in El Campo. My mother wasn’t really that excited about what the kids obviously because they were much poorer then her, so she didn’t really look for material.
One of her friends had come over to her grandparents’ house holding a clanking item behind her back. My mother looked at her uninterested, matter fact the clanks had disturbed her and she was ready to leave. The girl flashed a beautiful parrot. That definitely caught my mother’s attention. The girls jumped in the air filled with excitement screaming “Que Pajaro Bonito!” which means what a pretty bird. After the girls stopped screaming, my mother asked if she could take the bird out the cage. The girl took the bird out the cage and placed it on her forearm presenting the elegant bird. The colors of the rainbow wrapped around this parrot with a yellow ring around the neck. My mother asked if she could hold it, the girl saw nothing wrong with letting her innocent friend hold an innocent bird, so she placed the bird on my mothers arm.
After about an hour of non-stop blabbering of the bird’s elegance it was time for the girl to leave. She asked for the bird with a kind smile, but my mother insisted saying “Don’t worry he is safe here, I will watch him” The girl looked at my mother and then to the bird questioning my mothers mental state, it obvious that bird belonged to her and not to my mother therefore the bird should return to its owner. But no it was not understood my mother said again “You can go the Bird is safe”. The girls was frustrated her lips bunched up and her hands clenched into a fist, this mean war! The girl stomped over to my mother and grabbed the bird by the little legs. My mother clenched the bird’s neck cutting of way of oxygen, but they didn’t even realize they were harming this living creature. Instead they argued over ownership at the same time initiating a tug-a-war.
A sharp chirp pierced the ears of the young girl, as they flew back from some force. Their shirts and hands stained red from a gushy substance. They had torn the bird in two. They had become murderers and they knew it. My mother was the one who was affected most because she knew what she did was wrong. To my mothers surprise tomorrow was the girl’s birthday and the Bird would still be dead.
….The story ended quietly as me and my brother looked at my mother and then at each other after realizing our mom is not that innocent after all. From this story I learned never to play tug-a-war with living things and to think and respect other people’s property.
Dear Mr. Ted Hughes, My Name is Fadil Cantave, and I am the Editor of the Prentice Hall Literature book. This is my first year as editor of the Prentice Hall Literature book, and so I am new to this process of selection. I am very fond of British literature, and I am moved by the poems and prose that deal with the views of life. The Teenagers who read these poems should learn something about thinking and forming their own ideas on Life.
The poems Hawk Roosting and Horses, from your works, were included in last year’s edition. Both of these poems describing creatures of nature. Creatures of nature truly have no emphasis on the lives of teenaged students. High School scholars look for literature that they can find part of themselves in the words used, and relate events in the poetry and prose to their own lives.
I am sorry to inform you that you will not be included in next year’s edition of Prentice Hall Literature. This decision was made after many days of research. My goals for this book were to have authors who poems and prose were about the events of human life. As I researched over different authors, my eye fell upon The Australian. I found a passage that read “Hughes's poem about the christening of Prince Harry. At its worst, this book is a depressing symptom of Western culture's relentless dumbing-down” (10) This just one example of a piece of your literature, described as “dumbing-down” why would students want to read stories and poems that may have this same problem.
Please do not give up writing. Keep thinking of great ideas for Literature, but remember the people who may be reading and what their preferences are. A poem read by an adult may not be enjoyed or viewed the same by a 16 year old child. Please take this as a letter of motivation to work even harder.
Sincerely, Fadil Cantave, Editor of Prentice Hall Literature
In this day and age people fear what they do not understand. We try to understand dreams, ghost, and other supernatural beings but we can’t. It is quite hard to have an interview with one of these beings. Few have claimed to have seen Big Foot, or a Werewolf, but a slim few. Beginning from the times of Ancient Civilization some have feared what are called superstitions, the phrases like “step on a crack break your mother back”, or the belief in “The unlucky Black Cat”. We ask ourselves repeatedly what to believe, but what is Superstition? Today we have many stories of supernatural beings, or events. Some stories explain how Civilizations were created others simply tell the tales of why unfortunate events happen. While researching I came across a story called The New Christmas Story.
The story gets us to believe in dreams as messages from ghosts, or other supernatural beings. In this day and age no one really knows what dreams are, where they come or what they mean. The author, Arthur Machen, describes dreams as looks through time, visions to help an individual make right decisions and avoid wrong ones. The story explains what some call Déjà vu, or premonition, signs that can foretell the future. The author also gives an example that the givers of dreams are ghosts. This can be understood by some because maybe someone that has passed away is warning us of things to come.
I believe this story simply states that people during the time believed they had to have an answer for everything. In attempt to find the answer to where dreams come from they attached it to other material they did not understand. The main character is a good man who has a dream of an evil Christmas his worst fear. In the dream people are miserable and Scrooge notices the reality that the poor do not have such a Merry Xmas as the rest of the higher class. This dream could be viewed as a foretelling that Scrooge should help spread the Xmas spirit or if that this was what to come of Christmas.
I believe Arthur Machen does a good job of writing supernatural stories. His story makes sense and causes the reader to believe in dreams. He makes a reasonable explanation in a Fictional way. Author Machen’s work may not have been taken serious enough because his stories sometimes may not be completely his own idea for example; “A New Christmas Carol” was taken from “The Christmas Carol” containing same characters but different twist. A critic from the BBC says “…though not so well known now, was a highly respected writer in the genre of supernatural and fantastic fiction”. His writings also may not have been as diverse as other stories which target a large group. A critic from the Tartarus describes Machen as “A storyteller of impressive imaginative power, startling authenticity, and undeniable originality…” These critics also believe that Machen’s works could also be popular if targeted better.
Language benefits the world today in many ways. Language is the way people communicate in the world. Without language, it would be very difficult to express oneself. The use of language today is much greater than the definition of the word. Languages are not only used by humans but also by animals and other forces of nature. Language also has been interpreted into music, art, dance, and expressions of feeling. In the book “the Alchemist”, a young boy searches for his path, and finds that the universal language is love. Language could simply be expression without words. The word diverse is a benefit to the world because it brings the idea of variety and differences. The world itself is diverse filled with a variety of different peoples.
The word diverse derives the Latin word divertus meaning to divert. The word also dates back to Old French divers. In the American Heritage Dictionary, “diverse” is given as an adjective meaning “Differing from one another” (1). The Princeton University dictionary gives diverse as an adjective meaning “many and different” (2). Diverse is word whose definition gives the idea of a great number, “many”, and at the same time variety “different”. A word with such flexibility can easily be used in a positive way to enforce the idea of accepting variety and difference. The Merriam Webster Dictionary gives diverse the definition of “differing from one another” (3).
In the quest into the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), one of the most respected dictionaries of this time, I found that diverse was born 1340. The OED held strong definitions such as Diverse as verb meaning “to vary, to change” (4). Information from the OED also state, “Amongst humans, particularly in a social context, the term diversity refers to the presence in one population of a wide variety of cultures, opinions, ethnic groups, socio-economic backgrounds” (5). Once again the acknowledgement of diversities positive use in society. The OED also gives the definition as meaning “different in character or quiality” (6).
The word diverse comes into great play in politics, communities, and greatly in languages. For years discussion of accepting varieties, becoming more diverse by accepting different people has been spoken, danced, played by instrument or seen in the from of art. In the dance and theatre group called Alvin Ailey, one of the main themes of the play is getting the audience to understand the Idea of diversity and visualize communities understanding people differences and simply those differences contributing to strengths. President Clinton also uses diverse in a characteristic of strength “America, as witnessed by your presence here today, and other advanced countries became far more diverse racially, ethnically, and religiously than ever before, and the societies were actually working, and working better, and I might add, a lot more interesting because of our diversity” (7).
In today’s society the books that are read by people give off their personality and intelligence. Reading is a very important part to developing and manipulating the brain to grow. Reading is also a good way to expand vocabulary. While reading an article I came upon the word diverse used as a adjective describing food. The sentence read, “In a prospective survey of 1648 diverse food items from 10 retail markets in the MinneapolisSt. Paul.”(8) In this sentence the word diverse has been used to describe an exotic or rare food found in the mentioned markets. Another peculiar use of the word was found in a travel magazine it read, “series of diverse travel destinations geared towards executives.” (9) This use of diverse has been used to explain travel destinations as being different, or rare. When reading through these magazines I noticed that the words in the world do not stay stagnant but evolve and form into more powerful words to help the world.
Diverse is a very intelligent word and can help push the world to accept diversity. Diversity is such a great characteristics in society because people learn of new cultures and tradition. We gain stories, music, art, and other expressions of the mind. Language itself is a revolutionary; it helped people, many people to push the idea of difference. Hopefully in time the language keeps moving forward creating more words and using words of the past to help the world.
1. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company. 2000 2. WordNet ® 2.0. Princeton University, 2003 3. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster, 2003 4. The Oxford Study Dictionary. February 19 1994. page 182 5. www.oed.com 6. www.oed.com 7. Georgetown University Magazine. President Clinton Remarks as delivered. November 7, 2001 8. Antimicrobial-Resistant and Extra intestinal Pathogenic Escherichia coli in Retail Foods. Johnson, James R.; Kuskowski, Michael A.; Smith, Kirk; O'Bryan, Timothy T.; Tatini, Sita. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 4/1/2005, Vol. 191 Issue 7 9. Havens. By: Merritt, Jennifer. Business Week, 8/23/2004 Issue 3897, p72