English 10: Writing Portfolio
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the third

Essay the fourth
























 I was rumaging around in my basement when I came across a box with old pieces of paper.  They included old wills, letters from friends, and a bunch of records of the Carrel family.  That's when I came across a letter from my grandfather on my father's side written to my grandmother.
    During WWII my grandfather wrote a letter to my grandmother, he had just arrived in New Mexico by train in a hospital car because of an illness he had.  He says he arrived in the afternoon, the trip went well and was well cared for.  He mentions he was going to wire my grandmother and his father (my great-grandfather) as soon as he learned he was leaving but the telegraph strike prevented him.  He dropped off a note to his father while passing through.
    At the moment my grandfather was being kept at a hospital for futher checks.  The doctor had not been able to check all the patients yet including himself and probably would not finish until tomorrow.  My grandfather did not get a chance yet to find out about having visitors but soon would.  He also asks how things are and promises he'll try to make arrangements so she can visit him.  The letter comes to a close with a "I miss you more than you could ever know."
    This letter was long and had a lot of details.  My grandfather abreviated many words and was very specific on when and where he went.  "He wanted to keep your grandmother well informed so she would know everything and not worry too much," said my mother whom I interviewed about the letter.  "This letter is one of a variety of different links to past generations in our family which brought our family together."





























A speech from a movie “ahead of its time” is from, “The Majestic" written by Michael Sloane.  Jim Carrey plays movie producer, Peter Appleton, living in the 1950s who is accused of being a communist, speaks the speech.  After the whole ordeal of having amnesia and being mistaken for someone else in a small town where, in a way, he learned more about himself, he confronts a committee to clear up the accusations.  The speech itself speaks of the First Amendment in the Constitution and tells everyone how the government seems to be trying to change it.  
 The speech basically reminds the people of the America many have died for and the contracts (constitution) “paid in blood.”  Sloane intended this to have an inspirational impact upon the audience, like the part where Jim Carrey says this after reading the First Amendment: “That’s the First Amendment, Mr. Chairman.  It’s the backbone of this nation.  It’s everything that gives us the potential to be right and good and just if only we’d live up to that potential.”  This also gives the audience a pitiful feeling as this man made a great risk to challenge the committee, fighting for what was just.  In other words, he acted just like a martyr because originally he went to the committee with one thing in mind: to clear up the accusations made about him being a communist and then getting back to his life.  But Sloane writes that halfway through, Peter realizes there was a bigger issue and decides instead to basically stand up and tell everyone that America was turning into something bitter than what it was intended to be.  
 In the speech, Sloane writes of Peter Appleton talking directly to the Chairman and the committee that America had the Constitution for a reason and was the only thing they had to live by:  “It’s (the First Amendment) the most important part of the contract that every citizen has with this country.  And even though this contract…(holds up the book of the Constitution)…the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – even though they’re the only contracts we have that are most definitely not subject to renegotiation.”  This refers to America’s prejudice towards communists and that the government was trying to altar the law basically prohibiting different beliefs.  Overall, Peter was proving the point that America was ignoring the laws already written for it and was on its way to corruption.  He used the word, contract, many times (an example of parallelism) as these laws were signed and established for a reason.  
I believe this speech was ahead of its time for the movie demonstrated one man fighting for people’s basic rights.  He practically challenged America itself, which was what a whole country would do yet he was just one person and not a million.  It takes a lot of guts to challenge something bigger than yourself just to fight for something you believe in.























We all have read stories of a noble family or prince/princess with an ambitious relative, such as an uncle.  Most of the time, the mischievous uncle takes advantage of his family to gain power through evil intentions.  However the story, “The Tragical History of Hamlet Prince of Denmark,” takes these kinds of stories to a whole new level.  “Hamlet” was written by William Shakespeare around 1600, and the story itself is about a prince named Hamlet whose father was murdered by Hamlet’s uncle to become the new king.  This piece of literature makes all the other uncles in similar stories look like angels.
      The theme of the story involves mostly revenge and honor, and there is a hint of madness and revenge within the characters.  The uncle betrays his family’s trust by killing his brother to be crowned king with Hamlet as the only witness.  Hamlet desires to kill him but wants to kill him in a way so the uncle will not enter Heaven, and after his guilt is revealed.  Hamlet shows signs of insanity in his role along with strange behavior, and eventually shows the king’s (uncle’s) guilt.  The king uses Laertes, son of Polonius who was accidentally killed by Hamlet, to take out Hamlet in a duel for he knew that Laertes desired revenge.
      When Hamlet speaks, the dialogue involves him mainly speaking to himself plotting the revenge.  But the irony is he refuses to kill the king unless certain actions are taken at certain times, and in the end when he finally kills the king, Hamlet dies too.  After Hamlet uses the help of actors to re-enact the scene in which the uncle killed the king, and “proved” his guilt, Hamlet follows the king to prepare for his death.  He gets ready to kill the uncle while praying, but has second thoughts.  He speaks to himself that if he killed his uncle while he was in prayer, then this wouldn’t be revenge for he might send the king into Heaven at this point.
 Overall, shakespeare was a marvelous writer who took the category of noble families and ambitious uncles to a new level.  The story of Hamlet demonstrates great conflict and characterization within the plot.  The irony and dialouge is terrific in showing what the characters experience and how they are emotionally moved in the story.



























 In the late twentieth century, we live in stressful times and usually require something express our hearts and minds.  Today’s twentieth century British creations such as the song "If You Need Me" by the Rolling Stones, the play "Endgame" by Samuel Beckett, the novel "A Heritage in Its History" by Ivy Compton-Burnett, "A Prayer in Time of War" by Alfred Noyes, and are great examples and experienced by all people.  
    Presently, people experience great emotion in family matters and close relationships.  We show need for someone to be there for us and to keep us company.  One song: "If You Need Me" by the Rolling Stones presents this idea.  The song is about a boy who tells a girl that he loves her and if she needs a friend; all she has to do is call him.  "If you need me, Why don't you call me" (1-2)  Friendship is a huge theme in today's society; it is a purpose to life and can help you even with the toughest situations.  Friends should stand by you always and respond when you need them.  
    When in tough times, people find it hard to see the purpose of the human condition.  The play: "Endgame" by Samuel Beckett gives an example of this.  The story talks about people who seemingly live in a bomb shelter after a nuclear explosion.  They experience fits of madness and illusion while losing their purpose to life.  They lose all meaning to the human condition.  "...Samuel Beckett's second play turns out to be quite impressive. Impressive in the macabre intensity of the mood, that is." (NY Times).
    As people grow older, they begin to notice changes within themselves.  Sometimes they are good or bad and the ability to cope with them depends heavily upon themselves.  Sometimes we discover things about ourselves which were never there in the first place and can shock us.  The novel, "A Heritage in Its History" by Ivy Compton-Burnett," involves the Challoner family who experience dramatic self-revelations about themselves.  "...all say what they feel, articulating with a brilliant and shocking precision the truths about ourselves that we leave unspoken, unacknowledged" (dust jacket of the first U.S. edition).  They live in a Victorian mansion which has a "deadly truth" to it.  The Challoners are known as good natured people, but soon realize, with a shock, the new values they live by involving: love, pride, greed, marriage, adultery, incest, and death.  
    Sometimes we live in violent times of war and chaos. This is when we are all most frightened because we feel we are alone and hope God will help us through prayer.  The poem, "A Prayer in Time of War" by Alfred Noyes, shows people in time of war who pray to the Lord to help them.  Though all hope seems lost, the people believe that He will answer their call no matter what happens.  "For, while our souls in darkness dwell, We know that Thou art there" (23-24).  
    There are times when a person is transfixed on what he/she does yet is still able to respect and sometimes support what friend does which is different.  The short story, "Lovers of the Lake" by Sean O'Faolain, presents a man named Bobby and a Woman named Jenny.  Bobby is a kind hearted fellow who cares for and is greatly respected by Jenny, who decides to go on a pilgrimage and Bobby supports her despite his opinion.  ”‘Bobby! I'm always praising you to my friends as a man who takes things as they come. So few men do. Never looking beyond the day. Doing things on the spur of the moment. It's why I like you so much. Other men are always weighing up, and considering and arguing. I've built you up as a sort of magnificent wild, brainless tomcat. Are you going to let me down now?' "(22).