English 11: Writing Portfolio    
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the Third

Essay the Fourth



















      The house on 139 Vincent Road in Dedham was sold.  It sold to my parents Mary and Arthur.  It was their first house that they bought together, and a first house for our family.  When they bought it they had barely enough money left in their bank account to buy a bottle of champagne to celebrate their first night in their new house.  
          They bought the house two years before I was born and we lived in it until I was three years old.  The house was very small.  It was blue with blue shutters.  I don't remember much from the house except for certain ocasions.  I remember having my birthday party over there and all my family being there and sitting on the porch.
         One of my favorite things I used to do in the house would be to hide in cabinet underneath the sink.  Whenever I would get in trouble or someone would be looking for me I used to go hide underneath the sink.  That is one of the only memories I have of our first house.  We moved out late 1990 early 1991 to the house we our living in now.
   Our first house was a great example of what it means to be an American.  Get married, buy a house, and start a family.  Thats the American dream.  That first house in Dedham was a starting point for a family.  It was the place where I was born and our family began to grow.




















   Today is my first day at this place I call the Wilderness.  The trees have very few leaves on them and they are all brown.  There seems to be no animals around except for some crows, probably flying south.  There is a big rock.  It's gray and about two feet tall and two feet wide.  I was thinking to myself "how old could this rock be, and what has it been through?"  This is strange because I usually don’t think of stuff when I see a rock, I just see it and that’s it.  This is how we treat elderly people.  We should stop and listen to what they say, because like the rock they are old and have been through a lot in life.  If we just listened to them we could learn a lot because they have so much experience.
   The wilderness was very raw and cold this morning.  The trees are completely leafless except for the occasional tall pine tree.  The leaves are scattered on the ground and seem to be soaked with water.  They are not all different colors like they were in autumn.  They are all the same color brown.  People try to wear the same clothes, listen to the same music, and be the same as everyone else.  There's not a lot of different and unique people anymore, most people are followers not leaders.  Just like the brown leaves.
  The temperature is a little warmer than usual today.  There is still nothing left on the trees.  I walk a little further into the Wilderness and I see a tree that has fallen down.  It is split I half, it seems like it might have been hit by lightning.  The inside of the tree is very clean and a light color brown.  When I'm walking out I see an empty beer can.  That is a problem with people, everyone litters and not everything is bio-degradable.  Nature is getting ruined by all this littering and garbage.
      Last night the Wilderness was cold.  It seemed to be a bit moist.  I think it could be cold enough to snow right now.  It's dark out and hard to see.  I can't see any signs of any animals around.  Every time I have come to the Wilderness I have not seen animals.  Except for a few birds flying south on my first visit.  This is like people in some ways.  When bad times come people dessert you.  Just like the animals leave and birds fly south when winter comes.
  The weather today was extremely cold.  The ground is a little damp it seems from a few minutes of light snowing earlier today.  The sun is setting so it is getting even colder.  I see a chipmunk fighting with another chipmunk for what seems to be a nut or small piece of acorn.  The chipmunks are brown with black stripes on their backs.  They have short hair.  They are about four inches long maybe 5.  I was very surprised to see these animals out in the cold.  These two chipmunks fighting were like governments today fighting over different lands and going to war.  We can’t be going to war like this, more and more people die.  Soon war is going to get worse and worse and weapons will be used that will bring unwanted results such as nuclear weapons.  Soon there will be nothing left of the world.  We need peace.





























         The 19th century poet Edgar Allen Poe was a revolutionist during the time he wrote his poetry in the 1800’s.  In the poem “Alone” he talks about Demons and about passion which had not been done in poetry before this.  He also talked about how he was different then most other people during the time that he lived in.  Poe uses these things to tell a story that has another meaning if you read between the lines.
           This poem was the first time we saw demons in any poem from American Literature.  He uses demons to describe someone who had a bad influence on him as a child.  The demon took shape from clouds in his description of nature.  He doesn’t say who the demon who influenced him was.
              “Alone” also made use of the word passion in it.  This is different for Edgar Allen Poe because his usual topic is death.  Poe talks about his passions for odd things that no one else was interested in when he was a child.
               Poe told about his bad childhood.  This is the first time we see any poet tell us about a negative aspect of their life and tell us how bad their life was.  He tells us how since childhood he was different from all other children.  He tells about his sorrows and how what he loves, no one else loves.
               Poe’s use of new styles and techniques makes his poetry tough to match.  If you read deep into the poem it takes on a new meaning from what the words say.  The demon he writes about could be anything from alcohol to maybe one of his parents.  He writes how this demon influenced him to be different as a child than other children and to have passions for things that most other children didn’t have.  Basically he was an outcast.  Being different is what makes Poe an innovator in American Literature.  





























  The sport of Jai Alai originated in the Basque region of Spain.  The term Jai Alai translates to “merry festival” in the Basque language and is just one of many “ball and wall” games, a term used in the region to describe these types of games.  The game is called Jai Alai(“merry festival”) because it was often associated with festive events during its origin.  Jai Alai’s first appearance in America was in 1904 at the World’s Fair in St. Louis.  The game had spread from Spain in the 1890’s to other parts of the world such as Latin America, Central America, and Cuba.  From Cuba the game traveled to Florida where it is most popular today.  There are many different versions of the game played around the world.  These include versions played with the bare hand, with a gloved hand, with a strung racket, and with a solid paddle. There are also one-wall, two-wall, and three-wall versions, there is also a version played like squash, on a small covered court called the trinquet.  Cesta Punta is the form of Jai Alai played in the United States, the players use long basket-like gloves to hurl a small, hard, rubber-cored ball at speeds up to 160mph.  This sport is not a highly Americanized sport nor is it to popular in America, it is mostly played in the Hispanic regions of the world but has traveled to the states.  It is played in Florida and Rhode Island.  There were frontons, the places where Jai Alai is played, in New Orleans and in Chicago but they were forced to shut down when gambling on the sport was made illegal in both states.  Although Jai Alai is not popular in America as of right now I think it has potential to become an American sport because of the high intensity that the game is played with.  It might never become as popular as football or baseball but maybe become equal to popularity of a similar sport like racquetball played throughout America.
                The rules of Jai Alai are somewhat complicated.  Each point is started by serving the pelota which is the hard rubber cored ball used to play.  The server must bounce the ball behind a serving line, and with the cesta, the basket-like glove, hurl the ball directly to the front wall so that when it rebounds it will bounce between lines No. 4 and 7. If it does not, it is an under or over serve and the other team will receive the point.  Most games are played to seven points.  The ball must be caught on the fly or first bounce. The ball must be caught and thrown in "one fluid motion" meaning it cannot come out of the cesta or cannot be caught and held before throwing.  The judges will rule juggling if the ball "pops up" or if it is held for "more than the required time".  All three walls are in play - the red is out-of-bounds. In "Spectacular Seven/Nine" scoring point value is 1 until each team has played once, thereafter point value is double.  Like handball, racquetball, or squash, Jai-Alai players share the court with the opposition.  If a player blocks another's line to the ball on the catch or to the wall on the return, the judges may rule interference if they deem that the ball was "playable".  The game is played in a round-robin rotation, usually with 8 teams or 8 single players.  In doubles, each team consists of a frontcourt player and a backcourt player.  The game begins when the frontcourt player of Team No. 1 serves the ball to Team No. 2.  The winner of each point stays on the court to meet the next team in rotation.  Losers go to the end of the line to await another turn on the court.  The first team to score 7 points wins.  The next highest scores are awarded "place" (second) and "show" (third) positions.  Playoffs tied scores.
                 The man that popularized Jai Alai in the United States was Pedro Mir.  He was of Spanish decent and was born in Cuba in 1900.  Mir had a godfather of Basque decent who ran a Jai Alai fronton in Havana.  Mir became a professional at the age of 13 and moved to America at the age of 23.  The first American fronton opened in Miami in 1924.  It was opened mainly to showcase Mir's talents.  A hurricane destroyed it but was replaced by the present World Jai Alai fronton in 1926.  An American professional Jai Alai player is Ron McClure from Wallingford, Conn.  Before he was a professional Jai Alai player Ron worked as a change manager at a pinball arcade and as a laborer unloading huge rock boulders off of train boxcars.  “That was the worst of all” said McClure.  “It was really rough work and makes me appreciate playing Jai Alai professionally.  It is an exciting occupation and I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out.”  McClure was an American competing in a sport that was dominated by Basque athletes which was an amazing accomplishment.  McClure first saw Jai Alai as a senior in high school.  “I started playing with some friends of mine who had bought cestas from pro players they knew,” said McClure, “and I knew right then I was hooked on the sport.”  “But I wanted to get serious about the sport and began looking for some first class training.  I finally heard about the amateur school in Miami and finally moved down here to enroll the next year.”  When he enrolled he was 18 years old which was the maximum age you could be to enroll in the North Miami Amateur Jai Alai School.  As soon as he enrolled his destiny took root.  He developed his skills rapidly and two years after enrolling he became professional.
                      After my research I could not find any pieces of literature written about Jai Alai.  I was hoping to maybe find a piece of Spanish literature if I could not find any American pieces but I could not find anything.
                  I don’t see Jai Alai gaining any more popularity in America in the future or becoming an American sport.  Many of the frontons that were once open in America are now closed mostly due to loss of interest and no financial support.  The highly popular American trait of gambling found in Jai Alai is outweighed by more popular gambling opportunities such as dog racing and casinos.  Jai Alai will most likely continue being played in Florida where there is a large Hispanic population although 5 out of the 10 frontons have closed in Florida.  Jai Alai will most likely continue being played in Rhode Island as well because there are not to many gambling rivals in the state such as casinos or race tracks.