English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  All five members of my family are serious Red Sox fans. There’s my mom and dad, my two older brothers, Chris and Steve, and of course me. We are typical Red Sox fans. We watch every game and try to get to some games at Fenway. We, like most Bostonians know about the curse of the Bambino. We all think that he is the cause of the Red Sox not winning a World Series since 1918. Well, ever since he got traded to New York we haven’t won a World Series. I believe that my family finally broke the curse this year at my aunt’s house this past Christmas.

I have a very big family, and every year at Christmas we gather at either my house or one of my aunts’ houses. Last Christmas we went to my Aunt Patty’s. At the Christmas get together we have a Yankee swap. Everyone buys a gift and one person gets to pick a gift first. After you have picked your gift you may trade it to someone else for his or her gift.

So everyone has picked except for my cousin who is married to a Yankee fan. My cousin and her husband tricked my dad. That trick was they bought a Yankee’s hat and put it in the collection. So when my cousin picked the hat she traded it with my dad, who is a huge Red Sox fan and absolutely hates the Yankees. So she took the hat and put it on my dad’s head. My dad was so angry that he took the hat outside and soaked it in lighter fluid, brought it back inside and burnt it to a crisp in the fireplace. While this was happening, all of my family who are Red Sox fans were chanting Yankees… well, you know what they were chanting.

We all believe that because of this the Red Sox will not have this awful curse on them and can finally win a World Series. This story teaches me to never mess around and put a Yankee hat on my dad.













Dear Doris Lessing,

This was a very hard decision. There are many great authors out there so it was hard to pick. I am making the British Literature textbook for next year. I am sorry to say that you did not make it into my book. A good textbook is a book with very interesting poems and short stories. The short stories should be really interesting, should have really good themes, and should make you want to keep reading. It should also have a good topic. Your story just did not make those standards and is not in my textbook.

Your story “A Mild Attack of Locusts” is a very dull story. It has a bad theme and does not make me want to keep reading. It should have a better intro line. An intro line is very important. Sometimes the intro line will tell you if the story will be good or bad. I could tell that your story was going to be bad when I read your first line. I had to force myself to read this story.

Also, your story is very long, even for a short story. These are 14-16 year old kids reading this book. As you should know, kids do not like to read. If a kid sees a long story, than right away he is thinking that this is going to be a bad story. I myself see a short story and want to read it. A long story as a lot of detail. Kids do not like a lot of detail. You should get straight to the action packed scene. That is what they like.

You seem like you have a great talent for writing but need to learn that your writing does not fit our age group. You need to write shorter stories with better themes, and more action. You could also improve on your opening sentence. I have two direct quotes that agree with me that your story is long and unclear. “It is not be clear what we are to make of the artificiality of Doris Lessing's stories.”(1) “The four long stories in Doris Lessing's new collection are linked by their breadth – ”(1). Please write another story. This time, shorter, with a better theme. Also make sure it gets to action very quick or a lot of kids will not like what you write. If you do that than you will be in the textbook in two years.

























Superstition is a big topic in British Literature. Many authors talk about superstition in their poems and stories. Some authors that do that are Dickens and Shakespeare. One author that we do not really know, who is Irish, that uses superstition is W.B Yeats. He uses superstition in his poem, “The Stolen Child.”

W.B. Yeats used superstition by talking about fairies. A fairy is very superstitious. He uses it in lines 56-58, “ For he comes, the human child to the waters and the wild with a fairy hand in hand.” Fairies are a very popular superstitious topic but mainly everyone does not believe in them and they are very girly.

I am sure that W.B Yeats really did not mean to sound like this. But I think his poem brings out the whole feminine side of Britain. As you know, his poem is all about fairies, and not only are fairies a very boring topic, but they are also very girlish. In the olden days, poets were very popular. They wrote about their town or their people and poets knew best. If the British were following W.B. Yeats than they are a very feminine culture.

This poem has not been taking very seriously. I did not take it very seriously either. It was interesting up to the point about fairies. No one likes fairies. They are probably one of the least believed superstitions in the world today. I think superstition is a great topic and if he wrote about something better like ghosts or goblins, than I think that this would have been a more successful poem and would have been taken more seriously.

I am not the only one who thinks that this was a very bad, and feminine poem. A lot of other people did too. And one of those people was Steenie Harvey with her work, “Twilight Places: Irelands enduring Fairy lore”. In it she says, “The place has the reputation for being a fairy place…” So, a lot of other people would agree with me in saying that this was a dull poem and could have been better if it talked about a better superstition like ghosts or goblins.































Language is a major part of the world today. Without language we would have nothing because nobody would be able to communicate. English is one of the most popular languages in the world. I think English is very important because there are a lot of Americans who speak it and also a lot of people from other countries who come to America and speak it. The word “high” shows us that there are many words in the dictionary and that they all have a lot of definitions.

The word “high” does have many different definitions and roots. We can tell from the American Heritage Dictionary. The first definition of high in it is an adj, “having a relatively great elevation; extending far upward.” Example: a high mountain or a high stool. High can also mean “extending a specified distance upward.” Example: high noon. High comes from the Latin root word “heah” meaning “highly.” In the Thorndike, Advanced Junior Dictionary, high is a noun: “of more than usual height; tall.” In the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, there are three different forms of the word “high.” One of them is an adj: “having large extension upward, taller than average.” It is also an adv: “at or to a high place, altitude, or degree.” It is also a noun: “an elevated place or region.” Those dictionaries show us that there are so many definitions for the word “high” and they are all used in the English language today.

Did you know that the word “high” also means, “of clothes: high necked.” That definition of the word “high” was used back in 1827. High also can mean, “of great consequence.” This has been used back in 1200. As you can tell from the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “high” has many crazy definitions to it. This shows that the English vocabulary has a lot of words with many definitions, and this can be very bad because it can get very difficult to remember all of the different definitions.

There are many different types of speech in the world today. Everyone has their own slang and ways to say words or phrases. This is true because when I asked people what they thought of the word “high”, I got different definitions. My brother Steve Tompkins described high as a kite. Joe Harb and Christina Kostaras said it was an effect you get when you take drugs. A few others wrote the sky above us. This shows that mostly every one had a different definition or different way of describing high. It shows the diverseness in our language and that can be really confusing to people trying to learn English.

Did you know that the word “high” is over 1,000 years old!? The first time it was used in our language was in the year 825. It was used by Vespar Psalter ciii, “muntas heae.” It was also used in 900 in Baeda’s history volume three, page 194, “on body heah.” The first time it was used with the actual spelling high was in 1698 by Fryer, Acc and India page 150, “clad in black gowns…with high round caps flat at top.” The word “high” was also used in 1880 by Alfred Lord Tennyson in his poem “revenge” line IX, “ship after ship..their high-built galleons.” These Oxford English Dictionary sources show us that the English dictionary is very old and the spellings of the words have been very different and changed over time. This makes it hard for someone to research the word, especially if the word is spelled really differently over a thousand years ago.

There are also forms of the word “high” that aren’t in the Oxford English Dictionary. One of the ways was by the Australian Newspaper source, in the world section page 10, “BERLIN: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has called a vote of confidence in his Government for July 1, a high-stakes gamble to force an early general election that opinion polls show he will lose.” This here shows us that even in newspapers they have different forms of words. There are many different forms a word can take and that is good because it shows how diverse our language is and it shows that we can take one word and switch it around to be technically the same word but with a different meaning.

Through this paper we can learn how big, diverse, and tough the English language can be. It is very hard for foreigners to understand but when they get it, they realize that it’s not that difficult and how many beautiful poems you can write with the different meanings of these words. Also, once you learn it you realize that it is a very good language because it has so many different forms of words. This is why English is probably the most powerful language in the world.