English 10: Writing Portfolio

Essay the first: Origins  
Essay the second: Literature  
  My mother often complains that she is simply “Miss Understood.” In fact, she actually dressed up as “Miss Understood” for Halloween one year. This is just one of many examples of my mother being “Miss Understood.”

Our Family has always vacationed on Cape Cod during the summer. My parents probably chose this destination because they enjoy being on the beach and relaxing. Also, it’s not too long of a drive to listen to 3 loud boys in the back seat of the car. They especially love the beaches of Dennis because they are just huge at low tide. My mothers only complaint was that now too many of them had a snack bar or a bathhouse. We really only cared about the snack bar, but after one of the incidents my mom really wished there was a bathhouse.

On one of the many trips to the beach about eight years ago, we had a good family laugh. We probably won’t forget the occasion because my mother remembered her camera that day as she often did on trips to the beach. We headed to the beach that morning with another family that we usually traveled with. Of course, with five boys it was somewhat crazy. My friend Tony and I were looking for our tackle box and bait, because we were getting ready to go fishing for stripped bass. My brother Mark, who was about six at the time, was probably complaining that there was sand getting into his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My father was asking my mother to put sunscreen on his back. My mother was running around everywhere helping my friend and I look for our bait and tackle, taking the sand out of my brothers sandwich, and putting sunscreen on my fathers back when she felt a my little brother Stephen who was about 3 at the time tapping her on the leg. He needed to go to the bathroom really bad.

He had been jumping around crossing his legs and holding his privates for a couple minutes now. He had just been toilet trained so no longer did he go in his pants. My mother quickly said to him, “Go into the water.” He asked her again and she said, “Just go into the water.” Now if you had to go to the bathroom and someone said to go in the water, you would probably go into the water and pretend like you were swimming or something and go. This didn’t happen to be the case with my little brother Stephen. My mother also thought that, because she literally meant go “into” the water. He walked down to about four feet from the shore, pulled his bathing suit down, and just began to urinate into the water like the statue in Austin Powers was doing into the fountain. It didn’t take too long before the entire beach was turned around pointing and laughing at him as if he was a fat kid that was getting picked on by a countless number of kids. When we finally realized what was happening, we started to laugh too. My mother rushed over to her bag on the other side of the chairs and retrieved her camera to take a picture of the absolutely hilarious site. Stephen had no idea why we were all laughing.

Our family will never forget that moment on the beach, and I don’t think too many people who were at the beach that day will either. Even though Stephen was too young to remember what he did, he will also never forget that moment because my mother still has the picture.














Dear Mr. Matthew Arnold,

We have read over and over your submitted poems to our British Literature company and although your work was well done, it just wasn't what we were looking for to be entered into our upcoming edition of our British Literature textbook. We are sorry to inform you that your work will not be published into next years edition of grade 10 British Literature book.

Our company could only publish so many writers with all their work, and we didn't believe that your poems could fit in with all the other poems. Also, we did not think your poems made next years criteria that our company was looking for. Not too many of our editors were big fans of the free verse poems you sent out to us. In your poem “Dover Beach” the end words you used did not flow with each other: fair, light, stand, bay.

It would not be right to put in rhyming poems from the other poets and then add in some of your free verse poems. It does not fit into the mix. We believed that many young adults reading this textbook are more interested in the rhythm and rhyme scheme in the poems. We also felt that our audience would pay more attention to rhyme and it would make it much easier for them to follow and understand. Also, it would make it easier to memorize.

Your free verse poems in the mind of our editors could be turned into short stories because most of the lines are in sentence form without punctuation at the end. Lastly, another important reason that you were not added to next years edition was because our staff did not feel that you had interesting topics that our audience would be interested in reading, and could also easily relate to these poems and picture in their head.

Thank you for sending out your excellent work to us, and it is unfortunate that it does not meet the criteria we are looking for. Hopefully, in years to come we will be able to pull up your work and add it into our textbooks. Thank you, Paul Petrucci





















There are many famous British stories that have superstition aspects to them such as poems from many great poets like Alfred Lord Tennyson, and W.B. Yeats.One poet not many have heard of is Stephen W. Cote, who wrote a poem called “Superstition.”

Stephen Cote tries to get the reader to believe in spirits painted in soft pastels, and the spirits put together on a wall with smoke and flames. In line five he writes, “Long shadows creased in ember light.” It is trying to get you to believe in the spirits shadows reflecting in the light.

This poem revealed that many British people tried to draw and imagine things that were impossible to see. It says, “Spirits painted in soft pastels.” In lines 10 and 11, he writes “Read silently in the luminance, until the hard consonant is whispered.” It shows that the people in that time thought that the paintings would be able to talk if you prayed to it.

This particular poem has not been taken seriously because most people probably have not heard of Stephen Cote before. Also, when people read this poem and see lines that talk about spirits being painted on walls and them whispering to you if you pray to it, do not pay too much attention to the poem. The people who read this poem do not actually take the time to understand the poem.

Even poets like Stephen W Cote, who are not as well known as some other well-known poets such as Alfred Lord Tennyson and W.B. Yeats, can write just as good poems on the same subject. Critic and writer Eric Maple said, “'there are apparently no absolutely new superstitions but only ancient ones.” He is trying to get at the point that it takes time for something to be a superstition it doesn’t just happen over night. It is hard to research a superstition because it is often passed on by oral tradition and most of the time it is not written down. Even though Stephen Cotes poem called “Superstition” might be difficult to understand, if the British people took the time to try and understand it the poem might have been better known. If the British people understood it they would find out that it is a very interesting poem.




































There are presently over eighty hundred thousand words in the English language today. Many of the words come from root words of other words in different languages. The word mustard is commonly known as a yellowish tangy topping used on various foods. Interestingly enough mustard has been a tasty edition to our linguistic menu since the 1300’s.

The roots of the word mustard and its definition begin to show us the difficulty it creates in the world. Mustard comes from the Latin word “mustum” which means, “unfermented wine.” The word has a variety of meanings. Merriam- Webster’s Medical dictionary defines the word as “a pungent yellow condiment consisting of the pulverized seeds of the black mustard or sometimes the white mustard”, while the American Heritage dictionary defines the word as “a condiment made from the powdered seeds of certain of these plants. A dark yellow to light olive brown.” A third dictionary, Easton’s 1897 bible dictionary, defined the word as “a plant of the genus sinapis, a pod bearing, shrub-like plant, growing wild, and also cultivated in gardens.” How would foreign language speakers understand this when it is defined in so many different ways?

Also, by asking numerous amounts of people the same opinion question, you will get a different answer from almost all of them. Many people that were asked what they thought when they heard the word mustard, said different answers. Karen Petrucci said that she defined mustard as, “a low sugar option to ketchup.” Stephen Petrucci said that mustard was, “a requirement for a sausage pepper and onion sub.” Also, Mark Petrucci defined mustard as, “a topping on hotdogs”, and Stephen Petrucci said, “a color in my crayon box.” Mr. McGonegal put in his thoughts on the word mustard and he said that it was “a paint color, condiment, and a cool Germanic word. Just by looking at these four peoples opinions on the definition of mustard you can tell that everyone has there own opinion, and not every word is defined the same.

The Oxford English Dictionary has every English word, even slang words, in it. It has over eight hundred thousand in its dictionary. The dictionary dates when the word was first used in history and who used the word first. The word mustard in the Oxford English dictionary is defined as “a powder the crushed seeds of certain cruciferous plants, used in cookery for its pungency. The word mustard was first used in the year 1289 by J. Webb. He uses the word in the sentence, “In mustard, iiij d. The second time it was used to prove it was an English word was in a1300, by Dame Sirith. The sentence that he wrote with mustard in it was, “Pepir nou shalt ou eten; is mustart shal ben i mete.” Another use of the word mustard and its meanings is mustard oil, a volatile oil obtained from crushed seeds of black mustard, used medicinally as a counterirritant.

There have been many famous people that have come across the word mustard and ended up using the word in there writing in literature. It has been in used in many famous poems, and plays throughout the old ages and even the middle and new ages. One very famous play writer that used the word in literature was William Shakespeare. In 1600, Shakespeare used mustard in the play Henry IV. The used it in part four line 243, “His wit's as thicke as Tewksbury mustard.” Shakespeare is probably using mustard in this sentence as describing a man that is as thick as tewksbury mustard. Tewksbury mustard is a thick type of mustard. He is saying that the man is dumb and is thick headed. Another famous person in literature that uses the word mustard is Coleridge. In 1834, Coleridge uses the word in one of his writings. He uses it in the sentence, “I..having seen in an advertisement something about essence of mustard curing the most obstinate cases of rheumatism.” He is describing curing a case of rheumatism with the essence of mustard. There also have been many other famous literature writers that have used the word mustard in different ways.

Two new words that have been recently discovered that hasn’t been added to the Oxford English Dictionary are mustard-rye which is a type of bread. The second new word that has been discovered recently is mustard-pizza. Mustard- pizza is a pizza minus the tomatoes. This just shows how rapidly the English language is growing in the last couple of years in between the updating of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Mustard does not just have one specific meaning to it. It is defined differently in many people’s minds and in many different dictionaries. The American Heritage dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s Medical dictionary, Easton’s 1897 bible dictionary, and the Oxford English dictionary all interpret the meaning of mustard in a different way. The people that were asked what they thought of when they heard the word mustard, all had different interpretations, and thought of different things when they heard the word mustard.