English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  Our life experience shows us that some life incidents can have a significant impact on our lives. Some of them can create serious consequences, but sometimes can cause even innocent hilarious stories. However, we can use these life incidents as learning opportunities for our personal growth and development. They can teach us about all aspects of life and values. In Ukraine, my dad lived in a village.

One day when my dad was in fourth grade, he was hanging out with his friends and a man pulled up to the school. He came out of his car and came to the group of students who were hanging around. He suddenly asked the crowd, “Who is the best student in the class?” Everyone called out my dad’s name Slavko (nick name; full name is Yaroslav); the man opened his car and surprisingly offered my dad a puppy to keep, as a reward for his good academic performance. My dad was not sure if his parents would approve it. But he was so excited so he took it home anyway. He did not know where to hide it from his parents. So he hid the puppy in the cage where all the rabbits were. When his parents came home from work, his mother (my grandmother) came out to feed the rabbits and when she opened the cage, she heard very long barking sounds, not noticing that the dog was in the cage with the rabbits. She called out loud, “what’s going on? The rabbits are barking at me!” Then my dad had to explain to my grandmother, how this puppy happened to be in cage with the rabbits. The whole family was laughing of how my grandparents were surprised to hear barking sounds from the cage, where the farm rabbits were kept. The whole family accepted the dog and they loved him very much. My father was happy that my grandparents showed understanding and real compassion to this little dog, which later became a part of the family.

From that story I personally learned that even bad things can be transferred to positive ones. The man who wanted to get rid of the dog committed an unacceptable action trying to somehow abandon the dog to an unknown stranger (my dad). But that negative attitude towards the animal became a positive and valuable gift for my dad. At the same time I was pleasantly impressed by my grandmother’s approach, by having full of understanding and compassion.































First of all, my team and I would like to thank you for sending us your poetry for review. I understand your desire for your work to be published in our new “Prentice Hall Literature – The Late Renaissance Edition” textbook and we salute your attempt. I appreciate your effort in writing your poems, which by no doubt has a poetic value and a deep reflection on the subject you include in your work. My editorial board and I, with regret, have to inform you that your work is not accepted for the publication in our book.

Let me share with you my observations and reflections upon reviewing your poetry with hope so that next time you submit a piece of your work, you would have a better chance for your work to be accepted for the publication. You definitely have a natural talent for poetry, but at the same time, your style of writing is not acceptable and comfortable to all readers from different walks of life and age. Our textbook is designated to educate students and inform them about the classical work of famous writers of the Renaissance time. As you probably are aware, classical literature has a tremendous value of conveying to the readers, the spirit of time and social structure within which personages have lived.

In one of your presenting poems, “Love Among the Ruins,” you are trying to describe a bitter reality of a painful separation in between a shepherd and his wife, which are also dealing with the destruction of an ancient city. The theme of your poem is a very dramatic, but at the same time it does not disclose in clear way the relationship in between a shepherd and his wife and who and why destroyed this ancient city.

In the introduction, you mentioned about the greatness and beauty of this ancient city, “Was the site once of a city great and gay ( So they say),”(L.28, p.818). In the second paragraph you began to describe the terrible ruins of the city and not explaining how it happened. “Now-the country doe not even boast a tree, as you see, to distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills from the hills(L. 15-16, p. 818)” This leaves the reader wondering why you did not include a piece of history of the war so the reader could have a better imagination and understanding of the story you wrote. I would like to share with you another critical remark about your style of writing. I believe you are using too much of ancient vocabulary which makes it very difficult to follow your text and enjoy the reading. This negative side of your style would repel students from reading this type of poetry. It is our goal to attract young adults and make them have an appreciation about poetry and literature, and so they would read with pleasure, nurturing their cultural spirit and manner.

It is our hope that you will find another publishing company to publish your work, which we believe will beneficial for different audience of readers such as adults, university students who study ancient literature and history. Once again, we regret not to accept your strenuous piece of work. I wish you all the best in the future of your writing endeavors.

Sincerely, Ostap Nalysnyk Prentice Hall editor




















From the poems we have covered last quarter, we have learned a lot about nineteenth century British poetry. Out of these works, an important element of superstition was emphasized. Reviewing his poetry, one can see that the authors are free in their imaginations and can create a beautiful peace of poetry which is able to lift a spirit of the readers above and beyond reality of human life. One can see that the poets have a special gift to introduce to the humanity a new level of understanding of themselves and world around them. But to lead people to their world of imagination, the poets should experience this new level of understanding and perception of that imagined creative reality, first of all by them selves. During the inspiration moments, they probably are loosing sense of earthly reality and relieve their thoughts and wishes without any restrictions to create new possibilities. Their poetry, like a dream becomes real for them and can have a significant effect on their life, their feelings, and thoughts.

Some people, as we know from our human experience, are very often are falling to believe in dreams to the extent crossing the line of common sense of real life. People which are superstitious to their dreams can use the context and message of the dream, which would try to apply it to their lives. The British poet George Gordon Byron in his poem “The Dream” presents his own attitude to the dream which has significant impact on his life. He admits that sleep vs. dream has its own world. George Byron writes: “Our life is twofold; sleep hath its own world, A boundary between the things misnamed, Death and existence: sleep hath its own world, And a wide realm of wild reality, And dreams in their development have breath, And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy; They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts, They take a weight from off our walking toils, They do divide our being; they become, A portion of ourselves as of our time And look like heralds of eternity...”

A person who reflects on the definition of superstition as an irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance, not logically related to a course of events, influences its outcome, then he would see that the belief in the dream will fit this definition. A reasonable man would not believe in the dream as the guiding source of motivations for his or her future actions attitudes and values. When one reads George Byron’s poem “The Dream,” he can imagine the fact that British people believe in superstition presented by the author, namely that their dreams can affect their lives. We can make this conclusion on base that their contemporary poet personally believes in the power of a dream and its affect on human life: “They leave a weight upon our walking thoughts, they take a weight from off our walking toils.”

At the same time, British people would not accept George Byron’s position to the power and potential control of the dreams on human life, since the author at the end of his poem made completely the opposite statement about the power of the dream: “ My dream was past; it had no further doom .“ By this last proclamation, the poet makes readers to believe that dreams actually do not affect the destiny of human life.

“Superstition, therefore, partly involves a looking for signs from the divinities. In this sense, it is divination in disguise. Fishing families live close to death and have to cope with fathomless doubts. Superstition gives some sense of control (albeit irrational) over the unpredictable nature of their lives. Trying not to 'Tempt Fate', touching a talisman, avoiding taboo words, or crossing fingers for luck is irrational. But if it helps a trawler skipper to brave the elements (or anyone cope with everyday complexities), then the old rituals serve a useful and practical function -- superstition provides a foundation of confidence in a swirl of uncertainties. Superstition appeals directly to the irrational part of the mind. It strikes a cord with our deep instinctive emotions. The gambling spirit and hoping for good luck are rooted in the human will to survive -- even against the odds. Superstition and survival are plaited together throughout history. The New Encyclopedia Britannica, therefore, missed the point when it declared that ancient irrational belief would recede with the advance of science. I take the opposite stance and argue that it is because superstition is irrational that it will survive as long as humanity exists as a risk-taking species.” .Alec Gill, the critic.




































In today’s world, we speak every day with a variety of words which are derived from other diverse cultures and languages. Some of these words are very simple to remember and some are hard to pronounce. So many people use slang to substitute the so called “hard-to-pronounce” words. The English language is the most popular language in the world and as it develops, it adopts words from other foreign languages and one may believe that for some foreigners, it makes them feel well when they hear words from their own language being spoken in the present universal English language. Some of the words that have a long history and are commonly used in the English language are, “fine, good, sure, mural (when I’m at an art museum or a church), cool, nice, hot, great, give, splendid, O.K, no, and many others. These are just a few words. One would want to know what the root of the word “mural” is and what its original meaning is. The word mural comes from the French word “mur” which means wall. This is one example of the English language adopting a foreign word to use it for art because it sounds more creative than just using simple words such as “wall.” The word “mural” refers to artwork on a wall in the English language. English is used differently in different parts of the world and have different dialects, so if something unique exists in a part of the world such as a certain animal or other things and objects in only Africa, then the English speaking world would want to know the name of that object or animal. The native Africans would most likely use their own word for it and the English language would adopt the word from the native language of the inhabitants that live there. This is how the English language advances as people explore and produce new words every year. The English language makes us more aware of what’s going on in the world and improves the Global communication we use today such as the internet for example.

As one would look up the word “mural” in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), he would discover that the word “mural” is defined as a wall. The word mural has different forms, such as muraill, murayl, muraylle. The word was first used in 1475 by the author Caxton. In Ancient Rome, the designated mural crown was used to honor a soldier who scaled first to the walls of a besieged town. The mural crown was crenellated so as to resemble a fortified wall. Also, the word “mural” is a painting executed directly on to a wall or ceiling as part of a scheme of decoration. A special use of the word “mural-crowned,” means to wear a mural crown. “Mural tower” is a tower that projects inwards to strengthen the walls. The word “mural” was used for a decade after 1475 and then later appeared 37 years later by a new author, G. Douglas.

In the City of Boston, one would walk by the Museum of Fine Arts. There would be a probability that he or she would hear people speaking about architecture and art. At some point of a conversation, one would hear the word “mural.” By using the word “mural” in their conversation, most of them would describe a painting which hangs on a wall. Also, if one would meet a tourist who recently visited the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museum, he would hear a tourist’s description of the painting on the ceiling of the Chapel using the word mural. When I interviewed a few speakers on the street and from Catholic Memorial, I asked them about what they think of the word “mural” and what it means to them personally. I got a few interesting responses. I wanted to interview Joseph McGonegal, but unfortunately he was busy and did not get a chance to ask his opinion of this word. Another speaker I did interview was my father, Yaroslav Nalysnyk, and he said, “this word reminds of a Ukrainian word ‘Mur’ which has different meanings such as a concrete fence, a stone wall, and concrete foundation of a building.” When I interviewed Matthew Ziniti, he said, “I think of colors when I hear this word.” Also I asked Oksana Ladny about the word, she said, “oh, that’s the foundation under your house or any building.” Mariana Vrubel said, “‘mural’ is the painting on the ceiling of our church.” I asked Ryan Hix and he said “hold on” and never gave me an answer.

The word “mural” is also used in many pieces of literature. Pope introduced the word into the text of Shakespeare Midst. ND. V. ii 205 in his edition of 1728 giving the reading “Now is the Mural dawn between the two neighbors”, while G Taylor (1986) reads, “Now is the wall dawn between the two neighbors.” Caxton in his Recuvell Hist writes: “He sawe his enemies that hasted hem to come into the muraill and wallis with ladders’. Also in his work Godfrey of Boloyne he states: “He shewid to hym… a parte of the muraylles wiche were thenne yet apperyng.” Douglas in his Virgil Eneid writes, “Amyd the clos muraleis and paill, and doubill dykis, guhou thai thame assail.” If one would take a walk in Roxbury neighborhood of the city of Boston he or she would notice a lot of decorating paintings on the walls along the streets. These paintings depict, most of the time, elements of history of African-Americans in the United States. Also, we can see a lot of different themes of mural paintings which depict sport activities, new produced movies, famous actors, musicians, and even national historical figures.

I had an opportunity to interview my uncle Dmitri Stebletsov, whose native language was Russian. When I asked him to share his thoughts, when he hears the word “mural” he said, “ The word mural sounds to me very familiar, since I studied medicine, where a word mural means a septum, which separates two pieces of the organ, for example the septum in the nose. ” When I asked my mother, Luba Nalysnyk, the same question, she almost gave the same answer, but added that she knows that it also means a painting on a wall. I asked a speaker who speaks German, Bohdan Komarynysky, and he replied, “Mural is a prison.”

As I have researched on the EBSCO data base of information, the last article which used the word “mural” by a credible author was published in the “New York Amsterdam News” on May 12, 2005. They use the word as it is commonly known in today’s modern world because they use is it as an art feature, “The artworks include large murals commissioned by the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project. Harlem Hospital Center was the site of one of the first major mural commissions approved for and supervised by African American artists.” As we use this word constantly referring to art, its modern meaning is going to last for a long time until a new form of art is invented and the definition of the word “mural” may be changed and used differently in maybe a hundred years or so as it did in the past.