English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  My family story is a good representation of the way my family acts. The obvious message is that my family is very forgetful. The story shows what role each individual plays in the family. It shows that I don’t care enough to go to the police station with my mom and brother. It shows my brother can’t remember were he puts things, yet he always thinks he knows were he left it. And it shows that my mom is very worried about the outcome of missing items.

The story I am talking about is the time my brother’s “car got stolen”. It was my birthday, and all day everything was going great. Early in the day my brother drove his 1988 Honda Accord to Newton from downtown to pick up some subs. We ate the subs, which I enjoyed, and then carried on with our day. Soon after my friends went home, my mom and I went out to my brother’s car so we could drive to Whole Foods and go shopping. We asked my brother were his car was and he told us, we went outside to find his car. It was not were he told us. We called him again and convinced him his car was nowhere to be found. He came outside and showed us an empty parking space saying “This is where I parked my car.”

We came to the conclusion that this junky old Honda had been stolen. My brother and mom went to the police station while I walked around the neighborhood making sure my brother didn’t forget where he had parked the car. After about five minutes of looking, I gave up. It was about twenty minutes of waiting until I was informed that my brother forgot where he had parked his car. I was then told he had parked it approximately forty yards away from where he said he did.

The irony in this story is what makes it funny, the fact that we thought a 1988 Honda Accord got stolen on a street covered in BMW’s is ironic. Another part of the story that is ironic is that the car was about half of a football field’s length away from where he said he parked it. These two cases of irony create the humor in the story; without this irony, the story would be boring and would not have a “punch line.”

Irony is the theme that makes us laugh when listening to the story. The way each person acts is also very important to the humor. When I go to look around for the car to make sure he didn’t forget were he had parked it shows, I only care enough about my brothers situation to look in one part of the neighborhood for five minutes. This listlessness makes me laugh at myself. When my brother guaranteed us that the empty space is where he parked makes the story that much funnier, because he in fact parked it somewhere else.

This story is simple easy humor; it doesn’t force us to think to hard to understand the funny parts. The irony in the story is everywhere it basically jumps out at you and says “laugh at me...now”. The undertones of the story are the individual characters, and the way they act. The way my family reacts to what happens shows who we are and how we act, and how we act is funny in itself.
















I think a good textbook for sophomores needs to have a few essential elements. First; variation in styles, themes, and influences are very important. I also believe that authors need to inspire the students with new, unique ideas. Pictures and visual artwork is also very educational, with small explanations. Gerard Manley Hopkins, you do not belong in my textbook because your works do not do the things I need them to do for my textbook.

Your work does not have the variation I want to use for my textbook. I already have Victorian poets in my book, and they present all the same ideas that you do but in a more creative way. Your references to God are too self-explanatory and do not challenge a reader to think at a high school level about their own religious views. Your work also contradicts itself in your poems (Pied Beauty, and God’s Grandeur). During the time you wrote there were many great writers such as Alfred Lord Tennyson. These poets are better for the early high school student beginning their studies of Victorian literature.

Your work, although impressive, is not inspirational for sophomore readers. Your work is too orthodox for a high school student in 2004. Your views on religion are very traditional and boring. The other Victorian writers use symbols and force one to use their mind. Your poems seem to have features, like a list, which are boring to read.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, your work is very impressive, and I greatly admire your ability to create a poem. I like your views and find them interesting to analyze, but not early in a student’s high school years. The manner of your work is too traditional and does not appeal to sophomores, especially when they can read poems like Browning’s and Tennyson’s. Your poems will not be in my textbook for these reasons. I am not the only person who feels this way. Logan William said “The truth is, I can't stand Hopkins. I like his letters well enough (though I like Byron's and Shaw's much better), but the poems taste like ash in my mouth.”(185) I do not feel this way exactly, but most sophomores would.






















In British Literature superstition is consistently appearing as a theme. The book Frankenstein deals with the subject throughout the book as a theme, it reveals beliefs about monsters and science of the time. Or the book Grendel which deals with a monster and superstition involved with society. Poems also express views of superstition during periods of time in which British literature was written. One poem if The Lady of Shallot witch deals with curses and politics. All of these works express different views of superstition in society as well as superstition as a separate matter. One piece of unknown literature is The Sun God by Aubrey De Vere. This poem deals with Superstition in nature. This poet goes into mythical figure and makes us ask questions about there reality and importance.

The Poem The Sun God give a great description of an all-powerful God. He gives the God characteristics of a strong adult male. Yet along with these qualities he is involved with extraordinary actions. Like the lines “while such perfect sound Fell from his bowstring, that th'ethereal dome Thrilled as a dewdrop; and each passing cloud expanded, whitening like the ocean foam”. This line is at the end of the poem and it describes the God’s actions. These actions involve nature and force us to think about what makes things happen, and what could make things happen. But more importantly the poem shows us how the author thinks about superstition and what certain things can do.

The Sun God is an unknown poem that deals with superstition. This poem deals with superior being and their involvement with nature. It portrays the image of a powerful being determining certain events, triggering thoughts of supernatural interferences within the realm of nature. It convinces us that nature is an enigma, and superstition could be involved. This shows that during the time when this poem was written people were curious about what caused natural events. Things like the sun setting and rising may have had theories as to why they happened, but with no proof people probably stilled believed God or Gods has something to do with it.

Aubrey De Vere is an unknown Irish author. He discusses superstition in many of his poems. He often talks about nature occurrences in poetic ways, while exploring different ideas. Aubrey should be more famous, he has the ability to make a person thing about many abstract ideas is one short poem. Not only does he make one think, he does it with beautiful language and comparisons. *British Literature is always challenging us to think back into different times. This make us deal with different subjects and interpretations. Superstition is one subject that is consistently touched upon in different ways. One critic that agrees Aubrey De Vere uses superstition in his writing said “He often echoed with great felicity; and his affection for Greek poetry, truly felt and understood, gave dignity and weight to his own versions of mythological idylls.”