English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  The funniest story that has happened to my family happened a couple of years ago. The story shows how dumb my family can be at times. It involved me, my cousin Jimmy, and my uncle Joe. I was about twelve years old at the time. We were swimming at a beach near my uncle Jack’s house. He was having our family reunion there three years ago.

The day started the same as every other year. Everyone was saying hello, and talking about anything new or exciting in their lives. My family is scattered throughout Massachusetts so everyone was real excited to see everybody else. The kids were excited because they got to play on the beach. Everyone expected it to be a good day. After everyone was done talking to each other, my cousin Jimmy and I walked to the beach. We went swimming for a while. Then we decided to go on my uncles raft. My uncle Joe came in and went for a swim. His plan was to flip the raft over while we were on it. He did not want to make it noticeable so he went under the water. There was another raft about twenty feet away from ours. My uncle came shooting out of the water and flipped over the wrong raft! The raft next to us had two young children and their grandmother in it. The young kids were very scared of my uncle. They were crying and their grandmother was shocked and angry. She asked my uncle why he flipped their raft over. My uncle explained the situation, and he explained how he thought they were us. Everyone on the beach saw what had happened. The people watching were either silent or laughing. My uncle apologized to the children and their grandmother. He went back into my uncles house with an embarrassed look on his face.

This is the funniest thing that has ever happened to my family. Everyone in my family still remembers that day, and they still tease my uncle for it. My uncle is still embarrassed about what happened that day. He has shown me that my family is not smart, and they make stupid decisions. I have realized that I do not want to grow up to be like my uncle. He still sees the old women on the beach once in a while. She gives him bad looks sometimes. He has not talked to her since what had happened.















Dear Gerard Manley Hopkins,

In next year’s text book edition, we want exciting and interesting themes that students can find enjoyment in reading. It is important that a student is interested in the work he, or she, is reading. We have received many applications, which made this a very difficult decision to make. However, your work was not chosen to be included in the textbook. First of all, you use very difficult vocabulary in your poems. Sophomores should be able to understand the work they are reading. Secondly, it does not seem that sophomores would be able to connect with your poems. You use themes that students in high school would not find enjoyable to read.

 Because you use difficult vocabulary, it is hard to understand what your poems are about. Students will not learn if they cannot understand the work they are reading. The vocabulary choices you use are not suitable for sophomores. For example, in your poem “God’s Grandeur” , you write, “World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings”(p842). Some other difficult words you use in your work are grandeur, seared, shod, stooks, brinded, stipple, fallow, and wanwod. I doubt that many sophomores know the meaning of these words. If you had chosen different words, it may have changed my decision.

The things you write about are not interesting to sophomores. If they can understand your vocabulary and what you are talking about, then they probably would not like the subject matter of your poems. For example, in the poem “Hurrahing in Harvest” , you write, “Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, willful-wavier, Meal-drift molded ever and melted across skies?”(p845). First of all, sophomores probably cannot even understand these lines from your poem. Secondly, sophomores do not enjoy reading about nature and clouds. Sophomores want to read about exciting and interesting things. Themes such as nature and your personal life do not relate to sophomores.

These are the reasons that have kept you out of next year’s textbook edition. The main idea is that sophomores probably will not enjoy, or understand your work. We are not the only people that think this way about your poetry. William Logan, from the Modern Poetry Association, once wrote, “It is the compound interest of religiosity, perverse rhythm, rosaceous diction, the clatter of exclamations plus the badly kept secret that Hopkins is often nearly unreadable”. We are sorry you were not chosen to be included in next years textbook.

Sincerely, Kevin Feeney


























Superstition is a theme that many authors use in their works. People usually find stories dealing with superstition interesting to read about. Many stories dealing with superstition are well known. Ghost’s were an interesting theme to write about. Some examples and Charles Dickens’, “The Signal-Man”, and “A Christmas Carol”. However, there are many more well written stories dealing with superstition that are not so famous. Some stories have not achieved the credit they should have. An English author by the name of Richard Hughes is a good example of this. Richard Hughes is the author of a short story titled, “The Ghost”. The Ghost is a very superstitious story. It explores the themes of death, murder, and vengeance very well.

Death is the major theme in, “The Ghost”. We learn of a women who finds her husband with another woman. She thinks her husband has killed her, and she has turned into a ghost. We later learn that she has actually killed her husband, and he is the ghost. “That’s her”, said one of them in a husky voice. “Done it with a hammer, she done it…brained him. But Lord, isn’t her face ghastly? Haunted, like.” The story makes us believe that she really is a ghost. At the beginning of the story, the woman says “Bang!, Lord what a fool I was! All my hate went out with that first bang: a fool to have kicked up that fuss just because I had found him with another woman. And now he was doing this to me”. This part of the story makes us believe that she is getting killed. This work makes you believe in ghosts. It makes you think of the afterlife, and what happens to you when you die. The story paints a scary, disturbing image in our head when the murdering is happening. The setting also puts a creepy picture in your head. “Lily Lane was all shadows”. We read the story from the ladies point of view, who is crazy. “The Ghost”, explores many superstitious themes, and makes you think about them in society today.

Since Richard Hughes was English, it makes sense that this story reveals things about the British society and people during his time. Richard Hughes lived from 1900 through 1976. The story’s characters, settings, and themes can reveal things about the British way of life, from Hughes’ point of view. Murders were obviously common in England during those days, since there was a murder in the story. It is possible that Richard Hughes had got inspired by Jack the Ripper to write this story. Hanging was obviously a penalty of murder, since they were going to hang the lady in the story. Richard Hughes might have been trying to reveal to us that England was dangerous sometimes, and also creepy, since he was talking about ghosts.

This story should be taken more seriously. The story is very interesting. Therefore, it should get more credit then it has in the past. The story explores everything from relationships, to death and the afterlife. It may change your point of view on death, and superstitions such as ghosts. The story reminds us to be aware of what is really going on, unlike the crazy lady. Basically, this story should be taken seriously because it is a strong point of view of life after death.

“The Ghost”, is obviously an eerie and disturbing story. It deals with a tragedy, murder and death. Everyone has believed in death, murder, and tragedy some point in there lives. An Irish writer by the name of Steenie Harney, describes this for us. He says, “In a more credulous age, some superstitions may well have led to darker tragedy”. This quote can prove that Richard Hughes was writing about superstition because of the gullable age that Europe was in.

















  Language is something that separates humans from animals. There are many different languages in the world. However, English is the language that everyone may someday be speaking. English is the third largest language in the world, and it continues to grow. It is a language that unifies people around the globe. As more people learn the language, the less diverse the world becomes. English is not a language belonging to any particular culture or race. As a language, English was formed by many different languages. Therefore, it is not one cultures work of art. It is a language that has had many contributions, from people and cultures all over the world. Take the word “music” for example. The word “music” is a good example that shows the progress of English. English is a language that can mix two words from two different languages together. For example, the word “music” is a combination of musica and mousik. This shows how English unites languages, and therefore unites the world.

The word “music” is not a difficult word to learn and understand. It derives from the Latin word musica and the Greek word mousik. According to, “Webster’s Dictionary,” music is the organized tones in sequences. The word is defined in many ways in the American Heritage Dictionary. In the, “American Heritage Dictionary”, music is defined as: the art of arranging sounds in time so as to provide a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre; vocal or instrumental sounds processing a degree of melody, harmony, or rhythm; a musical composition; the written or a printed score for such a composition; a musical accompaniment; a particular category of kind of music; an aesthetically pleasing or harmonious sound or combination of sounds. The, “Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary”, defines music as: a pattern of sounds made by musical instruments, singing, or computers, or a combination of these, intended to give pleasure to people listening to it; the art or study of music; the written system of symbols representing musical notes. As you can see, all three of these definitions hardly differ. The definitions have basically the same meanings. They are all basically saying that music is some sort of organized sound. This word “music” is not a difficult word to understand.

The word “music” first appeared in literature in the year 1325. It was first introduced to us in the Bible. The sentence read, “Wit of musike, wel he knew”. The Oxford English Dictionary is a very descriptive dictionary filled with details of every word in the English language. The OED defines music both as a noun and a verb. Similar to the other dictionaries, music is defined as, “musical art, performance, or composition; the art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds to produce beauty of form, harmony, melody, rhythm, expressive content, etc; as a subject of study; the occupation of profession of musicians”. The OED also includes some definitions of the word that most people do not know. For example, music is also defined as, “The cries of a pack of hounds seeing the chase; the sound of gunfire; to have sexual intercourse; a band of highwaymen or similar robbers; liveliness, excitement; fun, sport; flexibility of give in the shaft of a golf club”. These definitions are rear, but they do exist. Some definitions of the word have died because they are no longer used. As a verb, music is defined as, “to bring or convey by means of music; to train in music”. This is an example of a dead definition.

The word “music” does not just get written down from time to time. It is not only used in literature, but it gets used in everyday speech. It is a very common English word. I am sure the word is also used in many parts of the world. Music is everywhere. Music is created, listened to, and thought about everyday in the world. Many people have similar definitions of the word. Although music can lead to many things, it all has to do with one main thing. This is of course, sound. People use the word in everyday speech as almost the same way it is defined in the dictionary. When asked about music, Mr. McGonegal replied, “I think of instruments off the top of my head.” Paul Feeney replied in a similar way. When he was asked the definition of music, he replied, “I think of good beats, rhythm, and instruments.” John Porter replied, “The first thing that comes to my mind are bands and singers.” As you can see, people all think of music in almost the exact same ways. This shows how English can truly be a unifier.

The word, “music”, is used in literature, as well as used in speech. Music is a major topic for writers and authors to use. It has been used in literature since the year 1325, when it was first used in the bible. It was introduced specifically in Genesis and Exodus. The sentence it was used in read, ““Wit of musike, wel he knew”(460). That is nearly seven-hundred years, and the word is still alive today. When you think of the word “music,” you may first think of songs. Songwriters are not the only people using the word, or writing music. The word has been in many famous works over the past hundreds of years, in which people all over the world have enjoyed. “I haue assayl’d her with Musickes, but she vouchsafes no notice.” This is a line from Shakespeare’s comedy, Cymbeline. Shakespeare uses this word many times in many of his works. He uses it in, Love’s Labor’s Lost, for example. In this, he says, “The musique playes, vouchsafe some motion to it.” The writer Alfred Lord Tennyson also uses this word in his famous poem, In Memoriam. In his work about death, he writes, “Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds, At last he beat his music out.” As you can see, the word music is used by authors throughout history, in works that have entertained people around the world.

Music is a word that continues to grow. New forms of the word are written down often. An example of this, is the word, “music-friendly.” Sue Wunder, of the Christian Science Monitor writes, “How milking is an intrinsically musical and music-friendly task” (Christian Science Monitor 91: 18). This word does not appear in any dictionaries at this time. However, it will soon appear in the Oxford English Dictionary. English is a language that is open to new words at any time. There are no rules saying that you cannot make new words. New words that are made make it easier for foreign language speakers to understand what is being talked about. Music-friendly is a good example of this.

There are many reasons why English is such a growing, dominant language today. First of all, English is a language that unites words of many other languages around the world. Therefore, many people that want to learn English can learn it easily, possibly, because of some familiar roots of words to them. Secondly, it is much easier for nations to communicate when everyone is speaking the same language. More trade happens when nations can communicate well. Because of more trade, countries become more wealthy. Money is a huge reason why English should be the official language in the United States, and also of other nations in the world. Money is the main motivation of every country. When more and more people begin to speak English, more money will be made. This is because of trade, growing companies, and many other things. As long as English keeps growing, the world will be a better place.



























apologies to Robert Browning

Fear death?-- to see the future I hold,
The beatings i take
When my life subsides,
I'll so slowly die,

Crawling towards my fate
When I start to fade,
I'll dig my own grave,
And walk toward the gates

When I am buried,
I will feel so free,
Don't leave me awake