Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America






















Tracing the Steps It was Christmas Eve at my grandparents house, it was probably in the early 90’s, I don’t remember the exact year but I know was about five or six. I was sitting at the end of the table as I usually did right next to my grandfather.

 After we finished my grandfather said “ Kevin, I don’t think I have ever told you the story of how I came over from Ireland”. Without even replying no, he answered for me and started telling me his story of how he came to Boston. I saved up my money for a boat ride to Boston, a one way ticket, it took me a awhile to save up because the minimum wages were very low in rural Ireland towns.

My mom died when I was very young so it was just me, my two brothers and my sister, well of course my dad. So finally when I turned seventeen my dad gave me the OK to go to Boston and start a new generations of Fahy. Now my younger brother was fourteen and he could take over my portion of the chores. I was very nervous about going to America, what were the people like? How was city live like? Would my apartment get broken into? But after a few drinks with my dad at the local pub the night before he calmed me down, and gave me some extra money that he was saving for me since I was born. It was only a little bit each week but after fifty-two weeks in a year and seventeen years, the money built up.

I was all ready to go to America; I had plenty of money and I had allot of confidence. When I was on the boat over to Boston, I noticed a nice pretty Irish lady that was having trouble understanding one of the worker’s English. See the lady spoke Gaelic and a little English, but not enough to really get by on her own. I helped her out and then we started talking in Gaelic, see I knew two languages. When we arrived in Boston we kept in touch, she worked down the street from me at a little bakery store and I worked at carpenter mill on the corner. After a little while we started going out and after two years of saving our money every dime we could.

We got married and bought this little house and fixed it up to be how it looks today. The house is almost forty years old. After my granddad finished his story he went back to his favorite chair by the window for some rest after dinner and a story. As he did every family get together. If there was one lesson my grandparents every taught me it was how to safe my money and think of needs before desires.














There is usually a spot in everyone’s yard that is neglected and goes unattended.  The leaves aren’t raked and the lawn mower can’t reach the grass.  The only habitant is this little squirrel that munches on a supply of nuts from the nearby acorn tree in my neighbor’s yard.  I have been observing nature and I have noticed nature is a reflection on man.  Emerson said,” Nature always wears the colors of the spirit “.  Nature seems to mimic our moods and actions.
     For as long as I can remember, I have noticed this old decaying tree trunk.  The diameter of this rotten piece of wood is about two feet long.  Nature has taken on characteristics of humans; it has rotten away. ‘’From ashes to ashes and dust to dust’’ is a line from the Bible; nature is mirroring man.
     When you stop and close your eyes and open your mind you can hear fierce colonial fighters battling in the woods.  These fighters are giving their lives so that their children will be able to say “ I am an American, not British”.  The leaves were bunched together in a silo lute of a wounded soldier defending his land despite his conditions and wounds.  
     The cold dark Alaskan tundra is just as American as the warm currents of the Gulf of Mexico and every inch has some sort of message to say.  It’s just not always easy to discover, it may require a little critical thinking on your part.












On the last day of Ted and Bob's junior high school careers, they waited impatiently for the final bell to ring.  Ted and Bob had planned to spend an entire day at the local water park, just ten minutes down the street.  They only had twenty minutes left in English class and they would soon be on their way down the new water slide and then into the improved wave pool.
     Bob said " Ted I can't wait, I have been waiting for this day since I got here in September, only ten more minutes!"  
Ted said, " I know.  Remember, Bob, my brother is picking us up in the parking lot over by the Shell gas station".  
"RRRRIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGG."  The final bell sounded.  Together, Ted and Bob raced frantically down the stairs.  Ted said "What a better day to go, it's eighty-five degrees out and the sun is out today unlike yesterday.  Are you even listening to be Bob?".
Bob said " Yes, but the only think I can see is that empty wave pool, well almost empty, not all the schools have gotten out.  They still have one more week of school.  Look, there is the front door."  
Ted screamed "Watch out there is a banana peel on the stairs!".  But it was too late.  Bob had already stepped on it and fell on the very last stair.  
Bob yelled "Ouch my leg it hurts, I think it's broken, No this can't happen not today, not today, of all days in the world.  Why couldn't this happen another day? ''.  Bob had broken his leg and he would be in a cast for the rest of the summer.  O, he could still have fun in the water, but the closest he got to the water park was his bathtub with a plastic bag over his leg.  He only dreamed about next summer, the summer after he finished ninth grade.












“Because I couldn’t stop for death”

Emily Dickinson’s poem of “ Because I couldn’t stop for death’’ you can see that she is anticipating her death.  In the poem she uses vivid imagery, to get her question across that is what is next, after death?  This poem makes you think about the afterlife, it challenges the traditional perspectives of death.  There are so many uncertainties that arise in my mind after reading this poem.  Emily Dickinson’s poem makes me ponder about what is next.  

     Dickinson distorts traditional notions of time. She pushes one of her questions in your mind by saying “ Tis Centuries and yet feels shorter than the day”.  I think there would be no sense of time after death.  That everything would just exist around you; time would be of no concern to me.  It would probably be like you were trapped in a timeless dimension.
     Dickinson also speaks of death as a loss, she makes you think of what will be left behind.  Her lines of ‘’ we passed the school were the children play/ we passed the fields of gazing granite, we passed the setting sun”.  She is throwing more parts to her question.  She is making you think of what you will have missed when you die.  You wouldn’t be able to appreciate the things you love to appreciate; those little simple moments of zien for you.

     She isn’t throwing facts in your face she is throwing questions of what, who, why, when and where into your mind.  At the very end of her poem she says” I first surmised the horses heads were toward eternity-“.  By saying that and ending it in a dash just makes me think.  What is really after death? is it like live except no one can notice your presence.  

     Of all the one thousand one hundred and seventy-five poems she has written this one just bombards you with questions, but never answers them it’s left to you to decide and make assumptions on what is next.  She uses the dashes extremely well to throw her question at you.              
























   A sport is any competition between two opposing forces whereby in the end there is a winner and a loser.  It kind of competition where two teams or two people face off in a physical activity.  Boxing fits this definition because two men or women get in a ring and fight each other until a winner is declared either by a knock out or simply not getting up for ten seconds. It is  a little sad that our society is based on violence but I admit I do love to witness a good fight.  I guess that makes my definition of a sport fit America’s definition of a sport, violent physical contact.    
     Keith Fazekas boxes professionally and he loves the game.  When Keith was asked by an Atlanta journalist when drives his love for the game he responded with “ I guess it’s the adrenaline… it’s exciting” (Standford). It’s that fire that burns inside of the professional boxer that drives him to fight every game. Keith is making a wealthy fortune for his career and he could retire on money but it is the passion from within that keeps him fighting every game.
     We live in a violent society and our sports reflect that of our desires to see a man repeatedly deliver blow after blow until one opponent cannot take any more.  Boxing’s popularity is a perfect example of our society.  We love to see people fight and get hurt.  Americans love to watch boxing because it takes all the strength of one man or women and attempts to overwhelm the opponent with his or her strength to win.  
     When amateur fighter Dave Engle, a friend of mine was asked what his thoughts on the sport he said, “ I love it, it takes all the strength in a man and puts it to the test in a brawl” (Hill). Even to amateurs who did not receive a paycheck for their endurance and keen ability in the ring it is the love for the game.  They fight in the ring for the love of the game and to them “ It is fun” said Engle (Hill).  
     Robert Johnson, a reporter for the Atlanta journal, said the main key to being a popular boxer is you need to have an edgy attitude of macho ness (Johnson).  I would agree with him but add a little more.  You need a personality that uses physical force and all boxers love to try and physic the opponent out.  That does reflect the American society because today American society has a mentality of macho ness.  I think it is due to the fact that we are a super power of the world.  That we are very powerful in foreign policy and it reflects on our professional, amateurs, sport writers and spectators’ attitude in and watching ring.      
      Boxing is an American sport because it has America’s favorite feature in a sport violence.  Americans love to see violence in any sport and boxing is full of blood and guts.  In just would make sense if Americans didn’t like it.  It is the fast pace, one on one, all out draw between two contenders that Americans love. Boxing is an American sport because it takes all of one’s ability and gives it a challenge to see if you can overwhelm the opponent and win the match.  If boxing was not in mainstream American sports I would be baffled.  Boxing challenges a man’s ability.      
      Boxing in America has risen in popularity I would say more than any other country in the world.  The sport has the entire American society either full attention or interest in. Boxing is American because it’s a challenge and Americans love challenges.  They yearn for the moment of triumph and glory and to stand up and be a super power of the world and to be able to say I have passed the test.