English 10: Writing Portfolio
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the third

Essay the fourth





















      It turned out to be more difficult than I thought to find just the right item.  I talked to my Grandmother, my Great Auntie Mary and my Great Auntie Marie.  There were a number of different items like bills of sales, cemetery paperwork, auto sales papers and the letter that I chose.
      The letter is written to my mother, Patricia’s, Uncle Joe from a younger man, a distant cousin, John Preston, who worked for him and became part of the extended family.  Let me explain the family history first.  My Grandmother is the second of five children of Nora and Coleman Kelly.  My Grandmother and her older brother, Coleman “Joe” Kelly were born in South Boston and raised in Mission Hill. He went by Joe and was a street- smart man with family values.  He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed helping or mentoring younger people.  He served in World War II and worked eventually for the United States Post Office after a long career with Chaquita Banana.  However he always had a second job and generations later even though Uncle Joe is deceased the funny stories are still around.  
       The letter is written after John has gone back to school and finished college.  He is very pleased with himself but realizes that Uncle Joe has encouraged him in a lot of ways.  Some of it was telling him to go back and other parts of it were about life stories and experiences.  John knows now that he has “book learning” as Joe called it and good practical experiences.  John seems to think that you need both to really be educated.  I think that he is right.  
One of the quotes is, “So, how’s tricks at the theatre?”  I didn’t have any idea what this meant.  I didn’t know if tricks was a person or what.  The other quote is “Still chasing hounds from the back gates?”  It sounds like there were dogs trying to get in to the theater.  No one still uses this language as far as I know.  My father told me that “how’s tricks” is like me asking my friend “Yo, what up?”  It’s asking what’s happening.  He figures that chasing hounds meant that they had to chase kids away from the back gates who were trying to sneak in to the movies.
I think one of the significant things about this letter is that a younger person took the time to write to his older cousin.  He wrote to tell him what he was doing and how much he liked working at the movie theater and working with his cousin.  He obviously really enjoyed this time.  Something else that is significant is that Auntie Marie and Uncle Joe kept the letter.  I think it means that they were really impressed by it.  I really think that it meant a lot to them.
         John Preston wrote the letter.  I think he was in his early to late 20’s when he wrote it.  Probably  in his late 20’s because of what he says about finally finishing college.  It sounds like he didn’t finish college right away.  It sounds more like he went and left, maybe a couple of times.  It is good to read that he did finish.


































 General Patton gave his speech before his troops went into war.  He gave it to motivate and get the men psyched up to go fight.  I think most of the men listening would have been laughing a little because of some of the things he says. “I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.  He won it by making the other dumb bastard die for his country”.  Some of them were probably scared because it was war.  
    General Patton was trying to convince them all that this is the right thing to do.  “This stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight is a lot of horse dung”.  General Patton is inspiring them to be real Americans and to fight to win and not to lose.  He is telling them that they are part of the best army in the world.  They are part of a team and the team will win by beating the other guys.  If I was there I think I would have wanted him to be my leader.  He makes you proud to be an American.  
    He uses the team analogy like in sports.  General Patton is saying that a team wins by sticking together and doing the things it takes to win.  He tells them to kill the enemy and he is not kidding.  He says that is the only way to win the war, by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. “I actually pity those poor bastards we’re going up against”.  
    Patton knows that they are young and have not been in a war before and that they might think that they will chicken out when they get in a fight.  The General is telling them that they will do the right thing when they are fighting.  I think he knows that some of them will panic but he knows that most of them will probably remember his words and do the right thing when it comes to fighting.  “The Nazis are the enemy. Shoot them in the belly”. He’s telling them to go out there and kick their butt.  
    “I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere”.  I think every leader in any war would say the same kind of things to the army.  I think that Caesar might have said these things to his army and I’m sure the generals who are leading our army in Iraq probably said things like this too.  
    General Patton was a tough man and a great leader in the war.  He would be the kind of leader I would want in a war.  He was the kind of general that helped America win the war.  






























I picked the "Merchant's Tale" by Geoffrey Chaucer. He is a writer from the 16th century. It is a very interesting story to me. In my essay I am going to write about how the merchant felt about marriage and how men thought about women back then. It is a story about people and how they treat each other.    
 “The Merchant’s Tale” is part of the Canterbury Tales.  The Merchant is one of the pilgrims in the story.  Like all the pilgrims, the Merchant has to tell a story.  His story is about a knight who decides to get married after being a bachelor for sixty years.  
 Through the Merchant’s prologue Chaucer gives us a unique perspective on marriage. The Merchant tells the readers in the prologue how miserable a marriage he has.  He has been married for two months and says, “I have a wife, the worst one that can be; for though the foul Fiend to her wedded were, she’d overmatch him, this I dare to swear”.  He is saying that his wife is so bad and nasty that she would get the best of the devil if he was married to her.  He calls her a shrew and cruel.  The Merchant thinks that marriage is not a good thing.  He really wants to be single because his wife is such a witch.
 The “Merchant’s Tale” is about a knight, whose name is January.  He has two brothers, Placebo and Justinus.  The story starts with January talking about how great marriage is and how the wife is there to serve the husband.  January is sixty years old and is prosperous.  He decides he is going to get married because he thinks marriage is the best thing.  He says, “Praying Our Lord to grant him that he might once know something of that blissful life that is between a husband and his wife.”  I thought this was kind of funny because he is talking about how great marriage is and he is sixty years old and has never been married.  It sounds like he probably feels bad about himself because he never got married and now he is getting so old and won’t be around too much longer.
 January talks about how God made Adam and then decided that he needed a mate.  He thinks that women are just there for men.  He thinks God put Eve there to be like used by Adam. “A wife is a man’s help and his comfort, his earthly paradise and means of sport”.  He thinks wives are supposed to agree with the husband all the time and do what he says.  I think that was how men thought of women back when Chaucer wrote this story.
 Chaucer gives us a good example of what kind of power men want over women. January finally picks a young woman to marry.  He says that the woman has to be young.  “I will not have an old wife coming here. She shan’t have more than twenty years, that’s plain”.  He thinks that it should be a young woman.  “But certainly a young thing men may guide, just as warm wax may one’s hands be plied”.  He doesn’t want an older woman who won’t do what he tells her.  He wants a young woman that won’t do anything except what he wants her to do.
 She gets over on him because he probably wants to believe her anyway. I also think the biggest theme in this story is power over people. In the end Chaucer teaches us a few lessons about marriage. For example: Never rush to get married. Make sure you like the person. Don’t think of women as objects.  

























   I have decided to call my paper “Brit Lit after 1950”. I chose The Beatles as the authors of music, Ian Fleming for the movies, Agatha Christie for novelist, Samuel Beckett for drama, and Seamus Heaney for poetry. I will talk about “Yesterday” by The Beatles. I plan to talk about the James Bond movies that are based on the books by Ian Fleming. I will talk about Agatha Christie’s mystery books. I will talk about “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett and the poem, “Digging” by Seamus Heaney. I think all these authors and their works will still be around in 2104.  
      “Yesterday” was actually written by Paul McCartney but just about all Beatles songs said Lennon and McCartney. They were the main writers of the Beatles songs. He wrote it in 1965 and said it was a real easy song for him to write. He just woke up one morning with it in his head. He didn’t have a name for it at first and he called “Scrambled Eggs” until it was finished and he named it “Yesterday”. I think the song is about how fast things can change in life. One day everything is great and then the next day it’s not. “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away now it looks as though they’re here to stay”. He is in love with a girl and everything is so good. He thinks it will stay like that but then she leaves him and he doesn’t know why. I think this is what happens in real life and this song has been around for almost 40 years already. I really think it will still be around in 2104. It is one of the most recorded songs ever. People like Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams (people and singers who I don’t know who they are but my parents do) and orchestras and other groups have all recorded it. It has been recorded more than 2500 times and is the most recorded song in history.
      Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1906. He was depressed a lot. He would stay in bed until late in the afternoon and hated long conversations. According to the experts, this sense of depression would show up in most of his writing, especially “Waiting for Godot”. He once said that he did not have feelings that were human. He had psychotherapy for a year in the 1930s. I think he might have had some mental issues. I thought this was all interesting because he won the Nobel Prize for Literature too so he must have written some good stuff. He wrote poems, plays, and books. So I picked Samuel Beckett to use as my playwright.  
      Waiting for Godot was written in 1953. The play is about Vladimir and Estragon and their pitiful wait for Godot. They are bums and Estragon can’t remember anything except what he was just told and Vladimir thinks he remembers his life. Vladimir is not sure though because nobody else remembers him or anything. Estragon and Vladimir need each other because they are the only ones who know each other and they need each other to pass the time while they wait. The play is about hope. It is about how people who have nothing and who are nothing are told that Mr. Godot will be coming. But I don’t think we really know who or what he is. It’s like everyone in life is waiting for something. It might be hope or love or death.  
      I think it is interesting because the biggest success of Waiting for Godot was when it was shown in San Quentin prison for over fourteen hundred convicts in 1957. The prisoners immediately identified with Vladimir and Estragon about the pains of waiting for life to end and the struggle of daily existence. So I think this play will last because people will always be suffering through things and waiting for something better or waiting for life to end.  
      I picked Seamus Heaney as my poetry person in my “Brit Lit after 1950” essay. He was born in 1939 in Ireland and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. I think his poems are about things that will last always. He writes about his country and what was going on there and how he looked at it. “Anohorish” and “Digging” are two poems that he wrote that tell about how his country looked and what he saw. “Digging” talks about his father too. I think it is a poem that will last forever because it tells about how his father was out digging peat in the fields and how Seamus is in the house writing with a pen. He says how good his father is with a shovel and how his father’s father was so good too. I think it’s about how our fathers try to work hard so that we will have it better. Seamus doesn’t have to go out digging peat but works with his pen because his father worked hard so he could. I know that is what my grandfathers did for my mother and father and what they are doing for me.  
      Ian Fleming was born in 1908. He created the James Bond 007 character and it was based on his real life. He wrote books about him and in the 1960s movies started being made. The movies are all starring James Bond 007. He is the hero who saves the world. The movies are about good against evil. The bad guy is usually some real evil rich guy who is trying to take over the world. He always has a bunch of bad guys working for him that 007 has to beat. James Bond has to use his brains and his fighting to win in the end. I think these movies will last because there is always good and evil in the world and we need a hero to beat the bad guys. James Bond is always cool and smarter than the bad guys and that’s what we want to see. Fleming’s books are all about good winning and they will always be around.
      Agatha Christie was born in 1890 in England. She was shy and didn’t like to talk to people. She began writing to express herself. She created detectives that would solve crimes that no one else could. She created Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. They were two private detectives who always solved the crime. Agatha Christie wrote mystery stories beginning in the 1920s and wrote into the 1970s. “Ordeal by Innocence”, for instance, was written in 1958.  Some of her books were made into movies, like “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Ten Little Indians” and she wrote a play called “The Mousetrap” that is the longest running play ever. It has been going for 26 years. People always like a good mystery so Agatha Christie’s books will always be read. I think they will be around forever.  
      The Beatles were looked at by older people as kind of real weirdoes because of their long hair and the way they dressed. They were instant successes in the United States. When critics found out that Paul wrote and played “Yesterday”, they made kind of a big deal out of it because they thought it was Paul going out on his own. They thought it was the end of the Beatles. That didn’t happen until 5 years later. Just about all critics thought that the song was wonderful.
      Samuel Beckett had many critics for “Waiting for Godot”. A lot of them didn’t have any idea what it was about. I think that most people are that way. Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times in 1956 said, “Don’t expect this column to give a coherent account of what - if anything - happens. Almost nothing happens”. He called it “a mystery wrapped in an enigma”.  John Chapman of the New York Daily News in 1956 said “merely a stunt but not without charms”. Other playwrights praised Beckett and “Waiting for Godot”. Tennessee Williams and William Saroyan called it a great classic and the beginning of a new way to present drama. Anyway, the play is controversial and puzzling and a lot of people don’t know what it’s about but it is still around and being produced.  
      Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. The Press Release for the Nobel Prize said, “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”.  “He hears language in landscape, in rivers, in stones,” said one local poet, Christopher Jane Corkery. Heaney, like all great Irish writers is known for the wealth of sound, image, metaphor and rhythm in his poems. “His is a muscular verse, filled with the richness and danger of Derry farms and peat bogs and with the people who worked, loved, fought and were buried there.” This was from The Boston Globe on October 6, 1995.
      I chose these people in my essay Brit Lit after 1950 because I really think that they are all important people in literature. The Beatles are one of the most successful bands of all time. They wrote an unbelievable number of songs. I couldn’t believe the number of songs when I started looking up information. Like I said before, “Yesterday” is the most recorded song in history. There is a reason for that because it is a great song and sounds good. They have so many other songs like it. They started in the early 1960s and broke up in 1970. They went their own way and kept making songs. Their music will be around forever.
      Samuel Beckett started writing in the 1920s and kept doing it into the 1980s. He wasn’t really as well known until he wrote “Waiting for Godot” in 1950. Because it was so controversial and famous he became well known. That was over 50 years ago and the play is still being talked about and put on. Beckett did many other plays and books and his work will last forever.
      Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature. His poetry is very well known and I liked all the ones I read. “Digging” was my favorite because it was about family and doing things for each other. It is something that will always be around.
      Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond books. I like the movies that have been made from the books and they are always about good beating evil. That is something that has been around since the beginning and will always be around.
      Agatha Christie’s books are mysteries and about the detective solving the crime by using their brain. Like James Bond her detectives always beat evil.  
      I really think all my choices have done things in literature that will last forever because they are all about things that people care about and want to see or hear.