English 10: Writing Portfolio
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the third

Essay the fourth



















The first English documentary of my family is the incarnation of the first and full acceptance of America.  Many articles of writing can be found signed by a D’Agostino, Sweeny, Athanasia, or Lombard, all of which contribute to my existence, yet none hold such significance as a personal diary my mother’s family has held and treasured for years sense the mid-1800’s.  It serves both as a family and a historical heirloom as it chronicles not only the life of an American immigrant but a Union Sergeant in the US Civil War.
The Irish quarter of my ancestry is perhaps the most intriguing and unquestionably the longest historical chapter of the motley conglomeration which is my family.  The diary of Jeremiah Mahoney is one such anal of which a sense of intertwined American and motherland pride is documented.  As an enlist men in the United States Civil War at the ordeals birth, Sergt. Mahoney Co. A 29th Fall River Mass. served in the Union Army as a Greater Boston Irish immigrant with a vigorous love for the land which had accepted him and his kin so recently.  The southern skirmishes, everyday life, and anticipation of the entire egger youthful regiment is recorded by the first hand experience. Sadly the last entry of the diary is dated in the May heat of 1864, days before the conversing of the Rebel and Union army at the Battle of Wilderness.  It appears that though his personal articles found their way back to his Massachusetts abode, the first major battle of the Civil War was the last occurrence of the young man’s life.
 My mother Lisa is also my link to this historical article and therefore most appropriate one to question of its importance.  She whole heartedly agreed that “a sense of pride” is drawn from the diary, an anecdote of courage and an irreversible complement of the courage and honor indicative of her family.  As for my mother’s take on the vague conclusion, for Vol. 1 is the only one in her possession, “I am curious of what exactly came of him.  But seeing as my mother has no idea of what section of her family it came from, I don’t.  Eventually though he found his way to Medford were my mother’s parents lived.”  I agree that the brief yet enthralling collection is a taunt to the true fate of my family yet the last page states the cost of boots, ammo, clothing and nothing more.
 In closing, this piece of writing is one which holds importance at all corners of my descent.  Not only as an immigrant but as an American more than willing to sacrifice for the nation which adopted him in still a stubborn manner, the contribution to the history of both is astounding.  To me however the respectability of the courage of a man fleeing the docks of Cork for a land he knew nothing of, and the desire to defend the land he so briefly enjoyed, is a testament to all human idealism, and in particular, my kin.































Perhaps never before has any text been so easily misconstrued with the possibility of accuracy as John Milton’s humane interpretation of a subject matter man is so terrified to discuss in Paradise Lost.  From his creation to the present man has attempted to disguise his opinion of life and law for fear of that which may take offense, God.  In whatever quantity or title God was rumored to govern man through his opinions and likeness.  Yet never before has any author written words more controversial towards the morale norm, by means of symbolism and metaphor in particular, and to be redeemed for it.  Only to purpose that through one pen the admission of man’s most unspoken fear is immortalized, man’s likeness and susceptibility to evil is his predominant trait.
 God and the Son stand as the totality of sovereign rule, creating a metaphorical theme unspoken but of obvious gesture.  Their presence is often unseen, yet there reputation alone is one of power, perfection and most importantly, certainty.  Yet man stands as a being quite the opposite.  Mistakes and consequences are the major themes of their lives.  Yet also passion, their emotions are vivid, their honesty of which is what makes them understandable.  One more character however creates the same aura of familiarity, Satan.  The model of all that is evil, all that is meant to be avoided, maintains some of man’s most unique traits throughout this tale, expression. “… he with his horrid crew, Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe, Confounded though immortal: But his doom Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought, Both of lost happiness and lasting pain Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes, That witness'd huge affliction and dismay, Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate…” (Book I, lines 52-59, page 3)  Satan’s torment is understandably founded, yet God’s emotion is unspoken, perhaps not one understandable by man.  Yet man’s hurt for that which he must fear, conducts a metaphor for his personality, for he is he meant to imitate, if his motives and concerns resemble, the statue of all not to be.
 Evil through literature has been a topic undertaken so often, yet its symbolic nature through perspective is one means most used.  The lines of love and hate through this interpretation of God’s plan are interchangeable.  The substitution of good for evil and visa versa would even be feasible at some times.  God’s tolerance of evil as a part of man’s life seems to pose the question of his apathy to his creations’ well being, were Satan’s action is apparent in darkness, so to is God’s knowledge of it in a subtle yet equivalent force. “Unbarr'd the gates of Light. There is a Cave, Within the Mount of God, fast by his Throne, Where light and darkness in perpetual round, Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heav'n, Grateful vicissitude, like Day and Night; Light issues forth, and at the other dore, Obsequious darkness enters…” (Book VI, lines 3-7).  Light and Darkness, perpetual symbols of good and evil express a cooperation of each other’s necessity for an unknown consequence man shall uphold.
 Always has man’s passion to imitate been obvious.  Respect is often purposed through mirroring, at times though, with the absence of greatness, comes the appearance of ignorance, of evil.  Perhaps Satan’s works, though powerfully wrong by the social norm, are those of which we see independently.  Man’s election of sin so often, is out of grief for attention of one worth mimicking, God.  Yet more perplexing is the one all powerful, the one of eternal might, could not allow this to occur unless he saw it fit.  Through a vehicle such as that he demonstrates as the banished and exemplified as all that is wrong, Satan, God may from this tale’s beginning to end, be fully aware of its conclusion. The choice between the two, presented to his creations is not a battle, a war between the armies of Heaven and Hell, but an illusion presented only to make life worth living as one only to be questioned, and never to be answered.
































The English language from 1950 to the early stages of the second millennium was a society well routed in its native land’s testimonies.  British literary works displayed the ushering in of a new period of literature during this time, one of many new underlying themes, many of which originally unexplored by English speaking authors, was the inability to accept face value as sufficient.  This attitude was fueled by an overwhelming literacy rate, social acceptance of nearly any and all opinions, and the ability of any and all peoples to communicate with relative ease through technology.  These conditions saw the Age of Reluctance assert itself as the governing title of post World War II literature.  Five texts which best embody and epitomize the ideals of the period are: The Who’s “My Generation”, Seamus Heaney’s “The Tollund Man”, Alan Parker’s and Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, P.E. Wodehouse’s “Ordeal by Golf” and James Joyce’s Ulysses.
 In the mid to late 1960’s, The Who became a musical group of prominence in the English speaking world.  Roger Daltery’s lyrical content sparked controversy among conservatives throughout Europe and the Americas as a voice for a generation seen as crude, ignorant and above all hopeless.  “People try to put us down (talkin’ bout my generation), Just because we get around (talkin’ bout my generation)” (Daltery) This excerpt demonstrates many facets of Reluctant Literature, one of which is the response of disinterest in society’s assessment of the “baby boomers” generation.  The emergence of birth control and abundant use of narcotics during the 1960’s and 1970’s created a world of friction and criticism between generations. “Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talking bout my generation), Yeah I hope I die before I get old…” (Daltery)  The refusal of Roger Daltery to accept life as that which hates him and his sect, his elders, demonstrates again, in a more literal sense this time, reluctance towards the social norm and society itself.
 Seamus Heaney’s poem “The Tollund Man” is an abstract yet beautifully metaphorical example of the Reluctant Age.  “Out here in Jutland, In the old man-killing parishes, I will feel lost, unhappy and at home.” (Heaney) This quote shows the contradiction of the human psyche perhaps best explored during the time period.  Though fear at first seems to be a sovereign tone through the text, the conclusion of comfort through mentioning this foreign and historically gruesome land as home, epitomizes the reluctance of authors in the age to deliver emotions upfront, as individual opinion became more and more important to literature.
 P.G. Wodehouse has written many short stories during this era, one of which is “Ordeal by Golf.”  “The Oldest Member sighs.  His lemonade gives a sympathetic gurgle.  He puts it down.” (p2)  Wodehouse here uses his infamous dry whit to examine a literary field not quite perfected until the late 1900’s, questioning.  Before the Reluctant Age, it was the duty of almost all authors to outline their intensions, yet Wodehouse ends a section of his story with a quote which has no literal relativity, but can be construed emotionally and metaphorically in any manner necessary.  In all likelihood, Wodehouse is attempting to display life as it is, with all its subtle details, generally ignored, but all which contribute to time were life’s expedient nature leads to unnoticed wonders and meanings.
 Angela’s Ashes was released as a film in December of 1999 as a conglomeration of the novel by Frank McCourt and the vision of producer/director Alan Parker.  James Berardinelli of Movie-Review.net describes the modern day play a “movie which takes place in a dirty, grimy world where… cleanliness is an afterthought.” (Movie-Review, p1)  This displays Parker’s full acceptance of the Reluctant Age’s depiction of life, a refusal to politely polish life for an audience which would care to separate itself from such experiences.  The tale in no way disguises existence through silence, the raw details are all portrayed as they were, as the authors refused to tailor their vision as former age’s authors may have been required to do.
 The novel The Beech by Alex Garland fits the criteria of the period not only through dates but actions.  According to Michael Elliot on the book’s motley assortment of literary references “the result is a book that’s achingly aware of where it’s coming from, but teases us by wandering down the parts of its various sources only to end up in dead-ends.” (Brotherjudd)  The novel starts halfway through, that is, it is expected of the reader to be at the mental level of the author, if they are unaware of the circumstances precedented, it is at their loss.  This contributes to the reluctant movement as the author appears to arrogantly suggest, it is not his duty or even purpose to enlighten a reader, that by no means it necessary for him to conform to the basic structure of a novel as would be expected in past ages.
 The English language between 1950 and the 2000’s has found itself openly altered.  Multiple dialogues have found their way under the header of “English” as different communities attempt to learn and are more easily exposed to the language.  Technology, such as computers, have increased literacy and the flow of ideas, thus different versions of the language have diffused across the world in mere seconds.  This also contributed to the way English was used as a language.  The acceptance of different sects of the Anglo-speaking peoples’ versions also led to portrayal.  Cultural opinions assimilated into English through transcribed literature, these unintentional reforms began to see many new facets of life depicted.  The tailoring of the English language into a motley yet more universally effective dialect has seen all that was said, sang and written change for the better.
Works Cited
 Bernadelli, James. “Angela’s Ashes Review”  
Movie-Reviews.net. 13 May 1999. p2
 Daltery, Roger.  “My Generation”
 My Generation. London: Leeds, 1966
 Elliot, Michael.  “The Beech, C+”
  JuddBrothers.com. 22 October 2000. p1
Garland, Alex.  The Beech  
  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970
 Parker, Alan and McCourt, Frank.  Angela’s Ashes
  New York, NY: Scribner, 1996
 Wodehouse, P.G.  “Ordeal by Golf” The Clicking Cuthbert
  London: London Press, 1924
 Heaney, Seamus.  “The Tollund Man”
  New York, NY 1972