Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America

Beh Jelly

The Unwanted Ones

Average American












During the New Years in Iran, Which is held on the first day of the spring, my family gathered. All my relatives gathered around in the dinning-room, as the night grew older. Then at the end of the table my grandfather sat with other elders around the table. It was then when I first heard about the story.

The story begins in the glorious land of Isphehan, Iran. It is about a young man, approximately 12, who lives to tell the story. He talks about his mother, who is known for her recopies. He talks about this incident where his mom makes twenty jars of jelly. This jelly, one of a kind, is made from the fruit, called "beh." The fragrance of this is beyond doubt, the most amazing scent you would ever come across with. My grandfather, having the love for this jelly finds it in the kitchen cabinet. He than consumes the jellies within the next couple of days.

When his mother discovers about it, she could not censure anyone, because the family had six children and no one confessed. So she ponders and tries to come up with a clever plan. She makes the jelly again, but this time with an especial ingredient in one of the jars. My grandfather finds the jelly once again. A day comes by and no result. Next day, a scream is heard from the kitchen. His mother rushes to see who is responsible, and finds my grandfather begging for God's mercy on his tongue. The ingredient was Red Pepper, with the capital R and P.

In sum this story reflect on our modern society, in some sense. It asks the question, "What is role of women in a modern society?" Today an average woman often works in office. She certainly does not have to take care of more than two children, and finds many opportunities that the society has to offer her. You would rarely find anyone, now a days, who knows traditional recopies and takes care of more than three children. All this as mentioned before, is the effect of women finding jobs outside households. However, I'm not saying women should not go to work, nevertheless where have our traditions gone?













The Unwanted Ones

     Peddling my bike down Glen St., I went into Pleasant St. trying to familiarize myself with the neighborhood when I first moved to this part of Natick. I found that near Charles River Falls, is a baseball field. So I found myself eager to investigate it more closely. As I went into the field, I saw not only one, but two baseball fields. Yet till this day, 3 years later, I’ve rarely have seen people coming here, and enjoying this place. “To be great is to be misunderstood...” Emerson’s words echoed in Self-Reliance. Nevertheless, perhaps this place is a great one. Maybe a place that the history behind it, is what makes it great. Yet men have found themselves not caring for the beauty that it has to offer: the changes that it has to offer all round the year. I tried to understand, to care, and to note the changes in these fields. As the sands in the hourglass were in motion, so were the changes in this part of nature.
     Through the time I have spent in the U.S. I have always found that baseball is the sport that is truly an American sport. As I have passed through the town of Wellesley, during the summer, I find people from the age of 10-35 playing this sport; whether at night or day, people obviously take advantage of those fields. However, I ask why can’t they take advantage of these fields? What does this field lack? Even if people don’t want to spend any time playing in here, I say take your pet or play other sports in these fields.
     “I became a transparent eyeball...” Emerson wrote. As he saw all, so did I. However, although I noted the changes, I also noted the changes that people might have gone through to cause them neglecting this space.
     “Men think that it is essential that the Nation ... ride thirty miles an hour...” Wrote Henry D. Thoreau in his Walden. Although the issue, back then in 1845-1847, might have been: why does one have to travel thirty miles per hour? Today, almost 157 years later, the issue of speed has change to video games and education. People think that it is essential for them to spend their time doing schoolwork or other activities; therefore they have lost their consciousness. They are berried so much into their work or what keeps them from work (TV, video games, computer games, etc.) that they take nature for granted.
     Another factor that a man has to take into account is how the activities that we as human beings do around these places influence the way others interact with it. During the time I had spent in these fields, I found that there was a certain stench that one might be disturbed by. In fact the stench came from a stream that was a short walk from these fields. It turned out to be some project that the city had started a few months before to prevent the stream from overflowing, during this winter and spring. The disgusting odor made it impossible for a pedestrian to walk by there. So I asked myself, how can a person enjoy the beauty that place, when they can’t even stay here for too long?
      Another factor that bothered me is how it is nearly impossible for an individual to first find it, second park the car, and thirdly walking through the muggy path, in order to get to play catch or real American style baseball. Has the society played a role in the way people think of this place? Or are the new generation playing sports at school and/or at fitness centers, rather than a place that is shared by the community? I find that it is upsetting to realize that a character of an American society, one that supports any community activity, is being abolished, just by the manner we respect our surrounding nature. Is our community baseball team or support disappearing, in places that few care about? The same day that was observing this place, Thanksgiving Day, I saw on my way football teams and parking lots filled with the cars, which belong to the people who came to support their town. However, I fail to see that type of behavior at these two beautiful fields. At this time of year, although it is fall, people could come to this place and take advantage of the view of the clear blue sky that I once noticed. People could also come to this place hold assemblies. As long as this part of nature is being used, there is no reason for a person to be dejected by the lack of enthusiasm, surrounding this place.












   Toby Wright, is an office manager is about 265 pounds. He wears a white shirt, a tie, and thick glasses everyday to work. He was your average guy. Toby drove his orange 1967 Volkswagen Beetle on his way to work listening to Baltazar and Pebbles radio show. Worked for fifteen hours a day, came back to home, and watched the TV on his sofa for the rest of the night. However, he was not always this way. He used to be a slim guy who worked for a major advertising company, and did well for himself, making lots of friends and money. Till one day the company declared bankruptcy, and so he lost his job. Moved to a small apartment down town and everything went down hill from there.
     One day when he came back to his home, he was listening to his inspirational tapes: "...I will be successful..."
     Then he would repeat it back to himself three times: "...I will be successful...I will be successful...I will be successful..."
     Followed by: "...I will get a promotion..."
      "...I will get a promotion...I will..." And so forth, till finally as he turned into the highway the tape finished. So he turned on the radio to listen to the traffic report. "This just in: a crazy driver seems to be driving the wrong direction in the interstate highway. He might be intoxicated, but we don't know for sure. He his probably going about 45 mph. No accidents have been reported yet, but we will keep you updated as this story develops..."
     "What is he talking about? They are all crazy today." He replied. Fifteen minutes later he turned into his driveway. He went inside, and about an hour later someone was at his door. So he opened it and there was one of his friends from back in that advertising company.
     "Hey what's up? You might not remember me_."
     "Sure I do. You're Dan Nathanson's friend."
     "That's right, how did you recognize me? I barely recognized you. Wow have you lost any weight since last time I saw you. Hold on turn side ways. Come on. That's right, wow! Where are you? I can't see you. Where are you Toby?" Waving his hands in front of him, trying to make contact with Toby, while avoiding it.
     "I'm here!" Said Toby as he turned again, facing Dan. "Come in please, come in! Have a seat. Say what brings you here?"
     "Well I just got canned. Yeah, I used to work in a tollbooth, on 95 south, in Connecticut. I've lost all my savings when I was gambling last week, and my wife has left me for my brother Jack."
     "I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do for you?"
     "Well I'm trying to sell these knives. Here, when was the last time you bought new knives."
     "Last Christmas, my Mom gave me a set."
     "Well they are probably dull by now. Where is your kitchen?"
     "Here let me show you. Here are my knives." Placing them on the counter.
     "Let me show you what my knife can do." So Dan took out a penny and started cutting the penny.
     "HEY you're scratching my counter!"
     "Oh man I can't do one thing right. Why is this happening to me? Why?" And he started to weep, placing his hand over his eyes.
     "It's all right now. Here look you did not scratch it."
     Then Dan started to saw the penny, almost immediately, on a cloth that he got out of his brief case. "I bet your knife can't do that." And so he tried doing it with Toby's. "Um-, that's interesting. Well you probably can't do that in a month, or so. What brand are they?"
     "I think they are Ever Edge, from Germany."
     "Yep, that why. You're lucky enough if they are sharp till next month. But my knives are guaranteed to last for life!"
     "Really, well maybe I do need new ones any way. You sure about that?" Said Toby.
     "Yeah, I'm pretty sure. Here why don't I sell it to you for $459.95?" Said Dan in a low voice.
     "What? $459.95?" Toby was shocked.
     "Well may be I can reduce the price down to, uh... nine easy payments of only $49.99 per month! That is less than $50 per month. What do you say?" Enthusiastically looking at Toby.
     "Wow! I can't believe it. Here is my first payment." He wrote a check for $49.99, and received his brand new set of knives. He showed the door to Dan and as he walked out to his 2001 Volvo C70, Toby tolled him, "Hey, I hope things work out for you!"
     Toby went inside, and turned on the TV, as he began preparing supper with his new set of knives. He watched some news then a movie, and went to bed at ten. Feeling all happy and excited about his new knives.
   It is peculiar how some individuals are deceived by how a price might appear to them. Moreover, is also disturbing to see how others consider us as innocent and honest, even though we might be strangers to them. Yet people fall for the scams of people in such professions as sales man of a product or an advertiser on the TV. Though it is good to have honesty, since the times have changed, it is hard to do so. And if you go by believing everyone is innocent and honest, you would be considered a fool these a days. It is also disturbing how one handshake or a man's word was all-another man would need from you.













Phillis Wheatley is one of the most remarkable poets, whose poems were not painless to write. Considering the fact that she was bought as a slave and then shipped to her owner in Boston, it must have been problematical for her to adapt to the new culture and ways. Yet with the help of her owner, John Wheatley, she managed to express herself through poems. This sagacious girl soon enough gained the respect of many, including President Washington. In 1775 she praised General Washington in the poem, “To His Excellency, General Washington,” which was written during the Revolutionary War with England. The reader of this poem can come to the conclusion that, in this poem Wheatley managed to capture a sense of patriotism, since she wanted to show that intelligence is not based on race, rather the mind.

Wheatley creates this sense that even gods are on our side. “Or thick as leaves in Autumn’s golden reign...” It declares that United States is eternal, and that the enemy soldiers are already considered dead. She describes the god of winds, Eolus, and storms, charging at the enemy as if they were dead leaves on the ground. Again we see this type of writing in the last stanza. “Proceed, great Chief, with the virtue on thy side, / Thy ev’ry action let the goddess guide.” She has written these words, in hope that the leader would take some pride and believe in his/her country. Even today we have such statements: “God Bless America!”

Wheatley furthermore shows her appreciation for the renaissance writers. Wheatley mentions Greek gods in this literature, such as, Columbia Muse, and Eolus.

Anon Britannia droops the pensive head,

While round increase the rising hills of dead.

Ah! cruel blindness to Columbia’s state!

In these lines we see how she uses the Greek goddess Columbia, comparing it with the United States. The effect that this has on the reader is that, it makes the reader ponder about the greatness of the country against the enemy, in this case England. Moreover it is giving the country a sense of identity. It is great example of personification, since the country is personified as a goddess.

This poem also praises and encourages the leader of the country, like any other political writing. “Shall I to Washington their praise recite?” However in the line before she tells us who is the winner of this war. And thus it is really through the next line (23) that we know the “waving ensign” is the flag of U.S., since she tells of the nation’s leader. Therefore, she creates this patriotic or heroic tone to the poem. What is interesting to see her do in line 23, is playing with the order of the words. Something that I think Shakespeare also did. However, it also questions Washington’s leadership. In the fifth stanza, she also praises his ability on the field, and also his excellence in peace and honor.

Although I have read other political writings, I never thought that you could gather patriotism through a poem about the man who himself holds slaves, even though she was a slave too. As we know, slaves usually had low self-esteem since they were degraded, by their owners to lose the confidence they once had, they wouldn’t have the ability to do something as extraordinary as this. A feature that is satisfying to see in her poem, is the she talks like John Winthrop: “Fix’d are the eyes of nations on the scales, / For in their hopes Columbia’s arms prevails.” Accordingly, Phillis Wheatley proved to the world, that race has nothing to do with intelligence. She was one of the first few people to have the society think of its moral structure, whether writing in Europe or in U.S. By putting aside all the differences, and parsing this land as she calls it, “The land of freedom’s heaven-defended race!” What makes this work of Phillis Wheatley more American, is that almost 90 years later this nation accomplished what she was trying to point out back than; the recognition that everyman is created equal, and it is the mind that distinguishes a person from another.


















 Sport is a game or a test that involves skills and physical activity of a person(s)for pleasure of /or competition. Although some sports’ origins can be traced to a specific
time of inventions, others like hunting, fishing, and swimming drive from rhythms andwork requirements of primitive everyday life. Others such as riding, shooting, throwing
the javelin, or archery, drive from early military practices. Whereas boxing and wrestling arose from spontaneous challenges. Hunting, whether done for the consumption of the
profit or the joy of it, has brought many people interested or carious about it.
     Hunting was a daily task in the Paleolithic period; by hunting they acquired food and garments. In Neolithic period, when agriculture developed, killing game was still
important.(Behrouz) In the medieval Europe, it developed into sport, only for the privileged. By Middle Ages, it became popular in England. This was also the time period when the use of hounds increased.(Budiansky) In US today this sport is popular, by the usage of firearms. In Great Britain coursing, hunting with hounds, is especially popular. Fishing, which is also popular, ranges from fly-fishing to deep-sea fishing. Although fishing is a type of hunting, it differs since hunting deals with animals on land.
     “These hunts are great for building confidence and having a fabulous time,” mentioned by Shirley McVicker, who is a four-time participant in NRA’s (National Rifle Association) “Women On Target” series.(qtd. in A Hunting We Shall Go 1) Today organizations like BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Women) are encouraging women, who are interested in this sport, to come and learn it. Shirley is not alone, other women like Lueck say, “The women get such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, and so much self-confidence.” ( qtd. in A Hunting She will Go 2) Another reason why women are becoming interested in this sport is because they want to share their husband’s passion for hinting and fishing. However this could also be an aftermath of what organizations similar to NRA and National Shooting Sports Foundation, which recently are persuading women to become involved with this sport; primarily to enhance the hunting industry. As indicated by the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service, only 5.9% of Americans in 1994 bought hunting licenses, whereas twenty years before it was 7.7 %. (Schlosberg 2)
     As a youngster Behrouz Sabet did not enjoy the sport much when he went out with his father and uncle. Although he actually did not kill the prey, he helped to collect
it. “I collected the ducks that fell. With every shot, more than three fell. And once I was petting one of the ducks that was shot.” The fact that he held it in his hands he says, “Felt
well, for my age back then.” Although he did not enjoy it, he did not mine it either since he loved the idea of consuming it. However the idea of, “ Taking the life of the animal,”
did not appeal to him. Behrouz like Shirley also believes that hunting helped build some sort of confidence. “I like fishing over hunting. In hunting you decide the fate of the animal. But in fishing the prey comes to you. Fishing is also relaxing.” (Behrouz) Behrouz’s case is a classical one. It illustrates how the sport is passed from father to son. However, it also points that how this sport might be losing interest.
     This sport has become Americanized through the years, since women are actually taking part in the tradition. No longer this sport has been reserved for only men. It has
also Americanized since some people oppose it. Unlike most countries, America does allow freedom of speech. Therefore, people can openly denounce the sport. And just like other American goods that are made cheaper and more efficient, this sport too has become cheaper, in some cases, than golf. Our American literature also has taken part with this sport. When you hunt, some say you become one with the hound; or you hunt through the eyes and nose of the hound. Thoreau wrote of taking “rank hold on life” and living more as the animals do, of spending days fishing and hunting in order to approach nature with an honesty that philosophers and poets “who approach her with expectation” lack. The fact that this sport is becoming more popular among women is suggesting that only in America can this occur. This also tells us that this might be a milestone in the history of this sport. Maybe one day instead of the father teaching his son about hunting, maybe it is expected of the mother to know about hunting.