Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America
















About two years ago my family had a family reunion. One thing I learned from this family gathering was how my great grandmother and her siblings came over from Ireland to America.

My family came over from Galway, Ireland. First was my great grandmother Nora, then when she got here she worked to bring her sister over. Then the two of them worked to bring another sibling over and so on. Over all they brought over only eight out of the fourteen brothers and sisters.

When they got to America they got married had families, and became Americans. My family came over as many others from Ireland for one reason. The first reason was because they thought they could have a better life in America. The way my family came over from Ireland is pretty much the way most families settled in the United States.

A lot of immigrant groups came over in this way, a very strong migration came from Ireland, but many other immigrants from different lands came over in the same way, by sending one over and working to bring others over. This still happens today, and will always happen because immigrants are what makes America work.








Trees are an amazing part of nature, whether they be oak, hemlock, or American Elm. I have been keeping an eye on the beauty of nature through the autumn. I would say that the autumn is the best time to just take a minute, and look around. The trees begin to change color, and drop their leaves, that is the most amazing thing. In front of my house, there is a beautiful tree, but it is only beautiful if you take the time to appreciate it. I have watched this tree for two weeks now, and I have listened, felt, smelt, and gotten a taste of this tree. Emerson said: “I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all.” I quote him because, in a way I, was the transparent eyeball, I saw all, and wrote down what I saw. . This tree changed color, and shed its leaves over my two week period of observation. This tree goes through ever changing cycles, as America does.
     This tree is greatly unnoticed for its true rapture. My family takes it for granted because it is right in front of our house. People on my street take it for granted because there are so many trees on our street. People in West Roxbury take trees in general for granted because, there are just so many. Its wrong to take nature for granted, every part of  nature has its own spectacles worth seeing. If you were to take a moment to realize how amazing my tree is, you would be amazed. You would be amazed by how long it has been around, for many years. You would be amazed by its glory in the fact that it is there, firm in the ground. You would be amazed at the cycles of change it goes through year by year, with changing the color of leaves, dropping them, and growing new ones, every spring, for many years. The life of trees is an excellent example of America because year by year, people die, people are born, and people come. We grow every year just as all trees grow every year, so in a way a tree is an American symbol.
     My tree changed from light yellow leaves to full yellow leaves. This changing of leaves signified that a generation of leaves were dying out, to make space for a new one. The new generation would go through the same repeating cycle and will prevail as all of the past generations have. In America, generations come and go, people emigrate here from around the world, and constantly change the face of America. My tree once, many years ago started as a seed, and grew into the great tree that it is today. In a way America is my tree, because we are every changing, and ever growing. Sequoias are among the oldest living trees in the world. The oldest that they have found was a few thousand years old. These simple trees parallel Americas steadfast live, and the years to come.















“Give me the keys!”, said Bob.
“Its my turn to drive, you drove last time.”, said John
     When kids share cars they are more that likely to fight over who gets to drive. These fights can become vicious if not settled reasonably. The fights can be over stupid things, and can be solved quite simply.
“ITS MY TURN!” screamed Bob, “let me drive or else…”
(Joe has the keys.)
“NO, its definitely not your turn to drive, and you know perfectly well that you drove last!, and besides, I need it to drive to work.”
“I don’t care if you need it to drive to work, why don’t you walk, you could use the exercise.”
“I can’t walk to work, its like five miles, and the buses don’t run on Sundays, come on…”
“Why should I let you take MY car?”
“What do you mean YOUR car, we both bought it, and besides, where are you gonna go?”
“That’s right, you’re just  being a pain. I’ll tell you what, you let me take the car to work now, and on the way back, I’ll fill the tank with gas, and take it to a car wash, and then you can have it tonight, O.K.?”
“Yeah, O.K., sorry for fighting, I guess you do need it.”
The argument was settled by John, making a compromise, and the two young men avoided a potential conflict.













     Edgar Allen Poe can be considered not one of the best American short story authors, but in my opinion he is the best American poet. Edgar Allen Poe wrote many poems. In most of Poe’s poems, as in “The Raven”, he uses many different literary techniques, such as internal rhyme, mythological references and he uses hyphens to set breaks in certain areas of the poem, to provide a better sense of what is being said. The literary techniques come together, creating an amazing piece of literature.
     Internal rhyme is rhyming within a line, Poe does this with many of his lines in the Raven, to create a rhythym within the poem. The first line is an excellent example of this. “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary”. this line can be divided into two parts once to dreary, and while to weary. Each part has eight syllables and rhymes, this is again only one line, yet it has its own rhyme within it.
     Mythological references play a descriptive part in the Raven. For instance, a normal person would not under stand the Aidenn is actually the Arabic word for Eden in the line: “Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn it shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angles name Lenore.” Or for instance the line: “Tell me truly I implore- is there- is there balm in Gilead- tell me- tell me I implore.” This is a biblical saying meaning balm in Gilead, an ointment that heals miraculously.
     In the Raven, Poe uses hyphens to show the reader, where Poe would intend for him or her to pause, the hyphens also, help to create dialogue. The pauses make the poem better, and set an eerie mood overall for the poem. Without the pauses the poem would be profoundly different and not have anywhere near the same impact as it does with the hyphens. A great example of hyphens being used in appropriate places is: “That I scarce was sure I heard you- here I opened wide the door;- darkness there and nothing more.” If you pause at every hyphen, it gives the listener and reader a better understanding of the terror faced by the narrator. If you were to read this without the pauses, I believe that it would lose all of its meaning.
     Many of these different aspects, though not unique to Poe, or to his time, help make a good poem, great. Poe’s use of Internal rhyme, hyphens, and his many mythological references, make “The Raven” a superior poem, in so many ways. Poe was not a common writer for his time, he wrote about dark and depressing things. The literay techniques that Poe used helped him to amplify the darkness, sadness, and evil of his many works.




























  A sport is a competitive activity, where you need to possess certain skills to do well in the sport. A sport is also physical activity, and you must be in top physical condition, and have knowledge of the rules of the sport. Jai Alai can fit the definition of the word sport, because Jai Alai is a physical activity, with certain rules.
    Jai Alai is played in an arena called a fonton. It is believed that Jai Alai originated in the Basque Regions of Spain and France around the fourteenth century (According to Mike Henry, a Jai Alai critic). Jai Alai is played using long basket like sticks called cestas, and with balls called pelotas.
    The sport of Jai Alai is one watched closely by gamblers, because many people bet on the sport. The Jai Alai pros must have an excellent knowledge of the fonton. For instance players must know, in order to be good, all of the angles in the fonton, and where the pelota wall go. "Knowing the court and the angles, the way the ball spins here should help us," said Iruta of Tampa's Areitio-Iruta team.
    As of now Jai Alai leagues around the country are beginning to look towards closing, because of heavy taxes that prove detrimental to Jai Alai. Florida's gaming commission especially is to blame, for most of the Jai Alai leagues in the United States are in Florida, because of the states large Hispanic population. Maria Smith is a little League Jai Alai mother. Her daughters name is Becky, and is one of the few female Jai Alai players. Most of the pro, and even the amateur Jai Alai players are men. Becky is a decent player, and at the time she was getting ready for a tournament, as her mother said: "I hope we do better in the tournament." during a practice.
    A sport can be characterized as American when the sport is played in America. For a sport to be American it does not have to trace its origins to America, for instance we consider hockey American, yet it was not invented in America, nor was football or soccer. For a sport to be American it simply has to be introduced, for a sport to be popular in America, it must be fast. Jai Alai is a relatively new sport to our country, and is just now beginning to catch on, as fontons begin to sprout up all over the country. It was introduced by Basque immigrants, as so many other interesting aspects of America were. We are a nation of immigrants; we take ideas from around the world, and make them our own. This is what makes America great.