English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  One of the funniest days in my life was a couple summers ago when my dad hurt his back. Seeing that my dad has never played golf the same, it is fitting that my dad threw out his back playing golf on his favorite course Ponkapoge.

It was an early Sunday morning, and my dad asked my brother and me “You guys want to play golf?” We told him that we would if he bought us breakfast first. We got to Ponkapoge and after a short wait we started to play. The first twelve holes my dad was playing great, being the competitive person that he is he was rubbing it in our faces. We got to the thirteenth hole which is the farthest hole from the parking lot. My dad hit his drive, and then my brother hit his ball right near my dad’s. I was about to hit my second shot when I heard my dad yell “Ouch My Back!” He screamed louder than I’ve ever heard anyone scream.

We were lucky that we decided to bring golf carts that day or we would still be trying to get him off the golf course. My brother and I had to drive him out to the parking lot when we got into the car my father finally relaxed, until my brother started driving. My father can’t stand riding in a car when someone else is driving, especially when the person has just got their license. To see my dad’s face between my brothers driving and him in pain was priceless.

What I learned from this story is my family has weak joints. I also learned that my family has good luck when we need it. This is true because my brother had just gotten his license and we decided to bring golf carts that day. The funniest thing about this story is that he didn’t hurt his back hitting a golf ball, he hurt his back bending over to check if the golf ball was his or my brothers.












Dear James Joyce, This is Chris O’Neill from Prentice Hall Literature. I believe a good sophomore English textbook should have stories and poems that can help our students read and write well. I think that good stories should have plots that are not confusing or to hard to follow. I also believe that stories should be relevant to many people. This was a very hard decision to make because of the many great writers in English history. I regret to inform you that you did not make it into our sophomore English textbook this year. I do not believe that your writings fit into our textbook. Your stories may be relevant to other people, but I do not think they are relevant to the many students we educate. Your stories are confusing and hard to follow. Finally your style of writing, free writing, has very little educational value.

Your stories are irrelevant to our students because most of your stories are set in Ireland. Most of our students have never been to Ireland, so they do not know what you are talking about. The first line of your story Araby says “North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street at the hour when the Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free.” Not many people know where North Richmond Street is. I am lucky enough to go to a Christian Brother School but we do not just have book in Christian Brother Schools. We sell books to public schools also.

Your stories have a reputation of being confusing and hard to follow. You often use tough vocabulary that is not used anymore. For example in your book Araby you say, “What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping thoughts after that evening!” I have no idea what “innumerable follies” are. Not many sophomores are going to know what innumerable follies are. This is just one example of your awkward word choices.

The final reason I believe you do not belong in our sophomore English textbook is because of your style of writing called free writing. Although I do not like leaving out a style of writing, free writing will not help our students learn. I believe that to be in our textbook you must be an outstanding writer. I believe that anyone can write a story when all they do is write down whatever comes to their mind. This is a simple way to describe free writing.

These are the reasons I have left you out of this year’s edition of the Prentice Hall sophomore English textbook. I hope you do not think that I am the only one that thinks of you this way. Gregory Castle says “All of Joyce's texts (the letters, the critical works, the fiction) consistently remind us that all conventions--be they historical, religious, aesthetic--are anathema to the artist.”(306). There are plenty of people who love your work; I just have a different opinion. I hope my criticisms have not discouraged you from writing again. Sincerely, Chris O’Neill























In the history of British Literature their have been many works written about superstitious subjects. Some authors that do this are J.K. Rowling, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and the list of authors goes on. One author, who is less known, that also writes about superstition is Lady Gregory. She wrote the book “God’s and Fighting Men” and out of that book came the story “The battle of Tailltin.”

Form the title of the book “Gods and Fighting Men” you can see that Lady Gregory is asking us to believe in Gods. One God she is asking us to believe in is “Mac Greine, Son of the Sun.” She is also asking us to believe in cultures that never existed. Two of these cultures are “the Sons of Gael” and the “Men of Dea.”

Lady Gregory was born in 1852 and died in 1932. She lived between the Victorian age and the Modern period. Her story “Gods and Fighting Men” was published in the modern period, in 1910. This whole story is about war. Therefore this story shows that one focal point of British Literature during the modern period was war. One battle in this story was “between the Sons of Gael and the Men of Dea for the kingship of Ireland.” It is also evident that war was relevant during the modern period because WWI and the Irish rebellion took place.

This story “The battle of Tailltin” has not been recognized as a major work in British Literature. One reason may be because Celtic literature was not popular during the modern period. The reason I say this is because we will not read any Celtic literature from the modern period this year. Another reason may be because she wrote about war like subjects and people during the modern period lived through war and most likely did not want to read about it. I enjoyed reading this story and I believe that it should have been recognized as a great work.

Her story of war between Gods and ordinary men is unique. I am not the only person who thinks this. Steenie Harvey wrote “Each generation has its own visions and stories, its own dreams and magic” about British Literature.






























Looking at language one can see that it can be very controlling. Everyday people say something that could change someone’s whole life. This is because language controls thoughts. Humans think with words. A famous rap artist named Eminem once said in his song Sing for the Moment “…I guess words are a mother they can be great or they can degrade or even worse they can teach hate…” English, by becoming the world’s fastest spreading language, could become to controlling. I can show this through a word like “auto.” Over the years, the word auto has taken in other words and changed their meaning. On top of the controlling nature of the English language, the word “auto” has made English very confusing.

The word “auto” has a wide range of definitions. This adds to the confusion of the English language. The Merriam Webster’s Pocket Dictionary defines auto as “an automobile.” The Random House Dictionary of the English Language Collage Edition defines auto as “a word fragment meaning self or same.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines auto as “1 Self or same 2 Automatic.” These dictionaries give different definitions for the word auto. With all these definitions it is easy to see how confusing the English language really is.

The word auto used to mean “a play.” This definition was first used in 1779, but was not used widely after. The Oxford English Dictionary now defines auto as “an abbreviation for the word automobile.” Seeing from the other dictionaries that auto can mean automatic or automobile I looked both those words up on the Oxford English Dictionary. An automobile, according to the OED, means “a self-propelled vehicle; a motor vehicle.” The word automatic has many definitions, the most common one is “a self-acting, having the power of motion or action within itself.” As one can see, auto can have two completely different meanings. One word with two different meanings can add a lot of confusion to the English language.

“Auto” is a word and a prefix that is used almost everyday in speech. The problem is that the word can be used in many different ways. When I asked people what they thought the word auto meant I got very different responses. Six out of the eleven people I asked said that it meant “a car or a vehicle.” Four out of the eleven people I asked said that it meant “A prefix meaning automatic.” Mr. Mcgonagal called auto “the word of the twentieth century…” because of all the word derived from it. By saying this he has strengthened my argument about how confusing this word can be.

This word auto is growing and expanding very frequently. As a prefix, the word is being used almost everyday. In the June 2005 issue of Macworld it is being used in a way I never seen before. It says “Adobe has finally updated Illustrator's auto-trace tool.” I have no idea what the “auto-trace” is. This is not the only time that where this word has been used in a way that I have never seen. In the June 2005 issue of PC World it says “Enter the keystrokes you will use to trigger the auto-insertion of the highlighted passage.” This is the first time I have ever seen “auto-insertion.” This word is growing too much. It is cluttering up the English language with too many words.

The word “auto” has a very young history. The word was only first used in literature in 1889. Although it is a young word it has sprouted in to one of the most common and confusing words in the English language. “Auto’s” first use in literature came from the Boston Herald. The July third edition said “The accident to Mr. W. K. Vanderbilt's auto…” Seeing how dictionaries defined auto as meaning automobile or automatic I saw that they have older definitions that auto. Automatic’s definition dates back to 1812. Sir H. Davy wrote “In the Universe, nothing can be said to be automatic.” Automobile’s definition does not date as far back as automatic. Automobile was first used in 1895. It said “Three miles an hour gives the automobile little chance of displaying the powers it doubtless enjoys.” Even the word auto’s roots have young histories. This word has grown a lot over the little time that it has been used. If auto’s definitions continue to grow, than the confusion will grow with it.

One can see how this word auto has grown to the confusion of the English language. The English language has hundreds of thousands of other words. If one word can be this confusing, than how confusing is the English language? English is continuing to grow, so how confusing will it become? My hope is that this language will not continue to grow, but instead allow other languages to flourish.























I am every man's desire
I am not the hardest thing
But I do much damage
I am hard to find
But worth the search
What am I?