Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America

















My Grandfather's War Story

When World War II broke out in the Pacific Ocean and Europe, very few people thought America would become militarily involved. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, many knew it had to come to war.

The family all sat around the kitchen table eating my grandmother's famous spaghetti and sausage when we started to talk about World War II. She began to tell the story of my granfather and his disappointment of not being able to fight.

My Grandfather was in his thirties when The U.S.A. declared war on the Axis Powers. Like many people are today after the September 11 terrorist attacks, he was feeling extremley patriotic. He was willing to do anything for his country. At this time he was an up and coming lawyer in downtown Boston. He enlisted in The Armed Forces as soon as America declared war, because he wanted to go to the battlefields and fight. He was very disappointed at what happened next.

My grandfather was a very intelligent man; he went to Boston College and later to Harvard Law School. Many peoplewho enlisted in the Army at that time, were not as smart as he, because very few could afford higher forms of education. So the Army needed all of the smarter enlisted people to help them out, by teaching. My grandfather was assigned to teach Physics in relation to weapons trajectory at the Uhniversity of Michigan. He was infuriated, he wanted to fight in the battles, but he did as the Army commanded him. There were other reasons also why he was given a job that didn't have him going into the War, because he had just married my grandmother nad he was in his thirties.

My grandfather, even though he was disappointed with his position to be a teacher, he still stuck with it and obeyed his orders. I think that that was a good moral for others to follow, if you get yourself into something and you don't like the results you still have to stick with it, even though its hard.












   Sergeant Joyce Kilmer once said, "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree", but to many people who pass by my house they might think different of a certain tree and its surroundings.  It lays outside at the top of my driveway, between the street and the side walk, on a little strip of land that is always cluttered.  This tree and its bordering patch of land are an inspiration to all of us, though they struggle through interactions with people, pets, and, machines.  
     Many objects passed by the area while I viewed it daily for two weeks, the area became a very  bustling spot after I viewed it, I never noticed how many cars passed it each day.  Cars would pass by the spot day after day, one after the other, none of them even glancing at the tree and its surrounding landscape, but I guess in a modern world of cars, and motorcycles, and trucks there is no time for a quick stop and view at one of nature's truly great accomplishments.  I will tell u a story about the tree that is so dear to my heart, it is a story of inspiration, and it shows how man cannot tame nature.  Last winter the tree was in its full growth, it is an odd looking piece of wood, with one communal stump and two large branches protruding in opposite directions, one towards the sidewalk and the other towards the street.  One day I came home from school and there was something different, something wrong...the tree no longer had the branch that stuck out into the street.  My mother said the city had come and chopped down the branch, because it was disturbing in the street.  She was right , there was traces of sawdust on the rode above where the branch had been.  Every spring prior to the dismemberment of the tree it had produced flowers and fruit, this year, though, I was nervous that the tree wouldn't make it.  The tree seemed resilient, though, growing both the flowers and fruits for the bees to snack on.  This story shows that we must overcome obstacles, even in the face of adversity this tree managed to bloom, and show its strength.  This is a good lesson for all Americans, even in these times of terrorism and war, we must put the past behind us and go on with our daily lives, even if  its hard.
     Walkers, jogger, and all types of canines walked past the tree everyday, not many noticed it or ever attempted to notice.  The most friendly being to the tree were dogs, they walked its perimeter, and sniffed at the tree.  The way to tell the tree was extremely unappreciated was that the tree was not even good enough for a dog to do its business on.
     The main job of my tree's surrounding area is to keep the trash and recycling buckets until the trash man comes to get them.  This caused excess trash to be scattered around the area around the tree.  This caused for even more unappreciation.  
     I plan from now on to take care of the spot I have viewed, all nature is precious, and I plan to keep it that way.  From now on I will rake, and pickup trash in the area, maybe someday there will be flowers there.











Have you ever seen one of those Tarot card readings ads?  I mean seriously, do they expect us to believe it.  Those ads are the fakest things I've ever seen, I mean I've seen bad before but Madame Cleo come on.
"Call me now for your free tarot reading!"  A woman says ina phony Jamican accent.  Well, first of all is it really a free tarot reading, NO.  You need to give them your credit card number, and you have to pledge to stay on the phone for more minutes at a cost around eighty dollars a minute.  The fee for every minute is absurd, if you give me five bucks, I'll lie to you for an hour, for them if you give them 100 dollars they'll lie to you for half a minute.

How legitimite are these callers who call up Madame Cleo anyway?  "So the babies father is in jail now?" says Cleo.  "Yes, oh my gad, I can't believe yo knew that!  He's in for life for murder, says a woman in a southern accent.  They pick these people up off the streets and pay them in cartons of cigarettes to read those lines.  This is a complete scam.  I'll leave you with this, "Don't call me now for your 'free' Tarot reading!"













T.S. Eliot was born Thomas Stearns Eliot in St. Louis in 1888.  He moved to Cambridge, MA at the age of eighteen and began attending Harvard University.  He published “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in London, because it was in London where he was getting help from the famous author Ezra Pound.  Prufrock is known for perfecting the “stream of consciousness” writing style in which he wrote down everything he thought, and he didn’t stop a line until the end of a thought.  Eliot was also one of the pioneers of modernism a new style of writing in which the author seeks to preserve the individual over the masses.  T.S. Eliot died in 1965.  I very much enjoyed the poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” for a number of reasons.  The major reason was that the poem was about Eliot and he used modernism, stream of consciousness, and other techniques to express his feelings and emotions.  

Through the use of stream of consciousness and personal pronouns, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” portrays the life, and the adventures of Eliot.  The poem, as it was described to me, is based on the thoughts of Eliot as he was walking in downtown Boston to a social event.  Eliot knew that at this party there would be a woman there that he greatly admired.  The poem is his thoughts that are running through his mind when he is walking.  Eliot in his poem writes a whole line one what he must have been thinking, he doesn’t use short, choppy lines, and he uses longer lines so that he could finish his whole thought in one line.  
Eliot uses “us” “we” and “I” to make the questions he poses toward himself of whether he should take risks when it comes to interaction with people, “Do I dare disturb the universe?”  Prufrock is nervous and begins to criticize himself; many people do that today when they are nervous.  

Also through the use of modernism, Eliot expresses his life experiences and trials.  He uses a thought process of individuality to explain to the reader how he was worried.  He was nervous on whether he should attend a party, or whether he is in shape or getting old.  The poem displays a sense of truthfulness, because it is about actual events and thoughts Eliot had.  He incorporates the modernism well into the events of the poem; he uses his poetry to express his contemplation on his body, his personality, and his place in society…
“With a bald spot in the middle of my hair-
[They will say: ‘How his hair is growing thin!’]
…[They will say: ‘But how his arms and legs are thin!’]”

…  Eliot uses modernism, to depict his attitude of how a person today is not above society and how the actions of one person are lost in a sea of society.  He wants more of an emphasis on the individual over the masses.

     T.S. Eliot wrote a wonderful poem when he used stream of consciousness, modernism and pronouns to express his ideas on paper.  The name of the poem was “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and it will always be a classic for those reasons, he was one of the firsts to work with modernism, and not many have perfected it since.  His uses of the literary styles, which are now common, but in his time very obscure, make the poem the work of greatness that it is today.


























   Rugby is an offshoot of the game of soccer, which was popular around the time rugby was invented.  William Webb Ellis, you can say, invented Rugby, as a joke.  In 1823 at the Rugby School in Rugby, England Ellis was playing a game of soccer and broke the rules by picking up the ball and running with it (Haden and Kesha).  Despite the joking nature in which the game was invented, it is an extremely competitive fast-paced sport. Even though the game was invented in England it has a superb background of popularity and participation in America.
     A sport is an activity in which people participate to enjoy themselves, while being competitive.  Sports give people the opportunity to come together with people from different backgrounds and participate on one unified field.  Sports are similar to the culture of America; they unite people that usually wouldn’t be united because of race, creed, color, and other differences.  That is why Americans love sports, because sports are the glue that holds the ideals of democracy together.
     Rugby is played across college campuses all over the United States at the club team level, which means that they participate against other colleges, but there are no specific conferences or playoffs.  Bobby Bench enjoys playing Rugby for Boston College, he was able to pick up the game while he was a senior in high school.  
“I like rugby because it is fast-paced and competitive, you must be an athlete to play it, you must be able to pass, run, and kick. On the other hand you must be smart also, there are so many rules and situations that you must know and be able to cope with.  Rugby is a good sport because it is easy to pick up, many of the friends I have on the team started while they were in college; many of them play for the football team, because it is a good work out.”

Bob likes to play in the Beanpot of Rugby, in which Boston College plays Harvard, Boston University, and Northeastern for the coveted bragging rights of the city.
Bobby agrees that even though Rugby wasn’t first played in the United States, that the sport is still uniquely American.  
     “Why do I think its American?  I do because everyone has the opportunity to play, all you need is the ball.  The reason everyone can play is because you don’t need to be a specific size to play, unlike football how you have to be 300 pounds to play offensive and defensive line…Look at me I weigh a buck eighty and I am very competitive… all you have to do is hit as hard as you can, run as fast as you can, and be the best you can.”

Bobby’s games are extremely competitive, but yet he wasn’t the smallest on the team, there were many that were unbelievably talented and important to the outcome of the games.
     The University of California coach Jack Clark seems to like the intensity the rugby brings, as it is evident in his pep talks to his players.  
     “When it comes to the early scrums, we need to drill a screw in their brains.  ‘Just cause you’re a big, fit f--- and you shave your head, doesn’t mean you can stand toe-to-toe with our team.’  I want them in a house of f------ horrors!” (Silver)

Clark gave that speech to his players before their NCAA semi-final match against Ohio State University.  The final score of the game was 62-6 in favor of Cal.  The win advanced Cal to the Final Four of Rugby.
     In Rugby, people young and old like to gather together on the field of warriors and fight for the title of the best team.  It is a team sport where you must trust your teammate or else losing is uncontested.   Rugby was a game mistakenly invented in 1823 in England, yet it is still a popular and vibrant sport today in 2002 America.