English 11: Writing Portfolio    
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the Third

Essay the Fourth





















John Howard Payne once said: "Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,  
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." My parents, not being able to afford a palace, bought my current house when I was three years old.  The apartment we had moved out of, was a small three room house rented out to us by a land lord. I don?t have many, if it all any, memories of this previous home, but I can still envision my parents deciding to move out. "Ted, I think it's time we look for a bigger home." said Kathleen. "We have two growing boys, and we cant keep living in this cramped house."
"Ok Kathleen, we'll look soon." replied Ted, immersed in his sports section.
"No, lets look now.? demanded Kathleen.Giving in, Ted replied "Fine,Kathleen."
             I?m not sure if they immediately found this house, but  eventually we bought it. For $90,000 dollars, my parents purchased their first house.  Although I was only three at the time, if I think back hard enough, I can almost feel the aura of excitement and pride that must have radiated off my parents. After all, its not every day you buy your first house now is it?
            18 Brae Burn Rd, Hyde Park Mass,Now holds four occupants. My mother, my father, my loving Labrador Patrick, and myself. My brother has long been absent from this house, however even he returns to us at times to visit.  But this house to my family, was the first house we ever actually owned, and the only place I remember as home.  It was in this house I was raised. We made the best out of every occasion, from Christmas mornings, to birthday parties. This house will always be apart of remembering these special times.  There were many bad times, some going on for long periods, but this house had held them inside, along with the good times.  
                  There is a fire place in my house, it iss in  in my living room. That fire place  has been lit on every Christmas eve. Back when I was six, and lacked computers, and Nintendo, I would lay down in front, and watch the fire burn away the log. Stockings hung above me on the mantle, Christmas tree lit up with all our ornaments glittering with illuminating light from the fire place. My parents would sit on the couch vainly waiting for my brother and I to fall go upstairs and fall asleep so ?Santa? could leave us our gifts.  I do not think until I have children, and experience these things that I will ever understand the pride, and emotions that run through my parents' hearts when they see me open my gifts on Christmas morning.  
Growing up, you take these things for granted at times, but as you age, you think about how lucky you are to be where you were at those times. Living in a warm house, and having my parents take care of me, I have realized how my parents bought this house because they wanted to take care of their family, and felt this was the right place to do it. This was the way every pair of American parents or parent, envisions these moments- in a warm house, with their children ripping open gifts and screaming in delight at the new,most wanted toy. This is important for every family, and these happy moments were especially memorable, and important for mine.
            The American dream may be to be rich in possessions, but if you have a family and live happily with them, you quickly realize how much more important love is than money. Other countries don?t have the luck we in America have. We live comfortably while they struggle. We can easily come across food. They go starving. Some are jealous of our way of life.  Being American seems to be a way of enjoying life so much more. Freedom makes our lives seem that much more worth living. And our country gives us the opportunity to grow up the ways we have.
Dora Greenwell once said:      " A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams." My home will always be the place where I grew up. But what made it my home, was the events that transpired in it. Every smile and happy moment, and ever tear and bad moment, made its way into my home. This is what my parents dreamed pf in their first home. To raise two boys in a house where they were loved, and where they were taken care of. And that is exactly what they were able to provide us with.





















Gentle gray skis hold hovering clouds/ the rain drops sticking to the grass, and the gentle pelting of rain drops on to the leaves scattered about. Though it is wet, and cold, the birds have not forgone their morning ritual of perching them selves in the trees and letting their music flow freely. As the gentle sound of music fills my ears, the sweet scent of rain fills my nose, I think of when the weather is rough. The birds don?t hide, or duck and run. Maybe human nature can borrow a page from mother nature, and try to stay around when the ?weather is rough.? to often we run at the first sign of rough times, but if we learn to become like the birds on a stormy morning, then we will find our minds to be more suited to dealing with both our selves, and others.  
As the morning gray slowly fades away, I plant my self out side. The cold is nipping at my ears, and a gentle breeze brushes against me. Looking over the land in front of my eyes, I behold nature. A place undisturbed, uncorrupted, by human nature. Leaves are scattered on the ground littered by mother nature, I see no wrappers, or chip bags. As the leaves are blown about by the gentle winds, and the birds whisper back and forth, I realize nature isn?t hiding anything from us. Birds do not cease to talk when we walk by, the wind does not cease to blow when we walk in its path, nature bears her soul to us. Humans sadly, do not wish to have other people know them. We cease talking when people walk by. We do not wish for people to know us on the inside. Human nature only allows us security if people do not know. Nature shows us everything, from the rarest of her creations, to the most spectacular view of the stars. Though we do not have anything near as spectacular as stars, we as human beings should open up to the people around us. Be like nature, don?t lie, and just let people see you in a natural, real way.  
The sun slowly fades beneath the horizon, and the moon is slowly creeping up to replace it. Stars begin to dot the night sky, and the cold air is still creeping about. The last, dieing rays of light cast shadows of the trees across the room. As it grows darker and darker, my eyes adjust to the lack of light, my ears perk up, and my sense of smell seems to intensify. The air is full of the scent of burnt wood, blazing no doubt, in the fire places of those living around me. The wind still is blowing the leaves about, only I can not see, I can only hear the sounds as the wind makes them dance. My faithful dog is strolling around the yard, oblivious to the cold air nipping at us both. He comes next to me, and lays down, and doesn?t move until I make a movement to stand up from my chair. I finally let my eyes observe, and let me eyes float upwards to observe the heavens. The stars greet me warmly, almost like a smile. A warm feeling flows through me, as I disembark from my adventure and walk into the house. Hopefully, I can such as the stars have smiled to me, smile onto others and spread this warm feeling. Perhaps even all of us, can have the smile of the stars, and spread it to all of us. To often we do not encourage our fellow man, all we must do to have a reminder of this, is look to the heavens.  
A fall day typical of the New England region. Cold, crisp, and the sun is shining brightly overhead taunting me with memories of summer. The trees have long been bare and no longer hide the birds who perch on the branches. Still untouched on the ground, are the leaves. There is no wind today, and I watch the leaves stand still as if for them, time has stopped. Brown, red, orange, all colors of nature before my eyes stand still, as if painted on the ground. Slowly, with the wind nipping at my cheeks, I go back to thinking about time, and how those leaves seem frozen in time. A year from now, the same cycle will take place. The leaves will grow, and they will fall to the ground, only to be swept away, or absorbed by the earth. And this cycle will keep going for many a year. Let us as humans realize, sadly we do not have the luck of this cycle. Often a time we let one year float by with out anything significantly good go on during it. We must realize that we are not hear forever. Our ?cycle? will only last for so long, and we must make best with the time we have on this earth. I know this has struck me, and I take this for granted, but I must learn, as well as all human kind must learn, to live life like there is no other cycle.  
This will be my final visit with this piece of land, I sit here think of the leaves, trees, grass, and the sky above this piece of land.  The way the brown, red, and orange colors of a fading fall swirl around in the air, never having a permanent home on the ground. The light wind slightly blows, and the tree limbs dance in its presence.  My faithful Labrador is prancing around the yard, once again exploring, and finding secrets nature will never reveal to us. As my eyes wonder upwards, I spy clouds  drifting lighter then air in a sky painted blue.  No artist can capture the beauty of the sky on a clear fall day. The way it can bring about so much beauty, yet so much hate. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, and lightning can come from this sky. But luckily for everyone, there is always a warning sign in the sky. The skys turn black or gray and we are able to adjust  our plans, and lives to suit accordingly. Perhaps we as humans, should take a page from mother natures book, and show them warning before the storm inside us comes out. Let them know when our mood is foul, and then they to can plan their lives accordingly.





























Nature isn’t always kind to man when they enter her world. Mother nature holds many dangers, from animals, to weather. Man has learned to cope with these over the centuries, but man has no control over his destiny once he steps into the cold reality of nature. Man can only do, what mother nature allows him to do in these moments. Nature is not friendly to these men stuck in situations. In ‘Jack London’s: ‘White Fang’, man is once again pitted against mother nature. In the form of wolves, mother nature shows its cunningness, its viciousness, and its intelligence. It shows our lack of control over nature, and the difficulty of taming any creature that is even partially wild.
 The way Jack London has composed his past works, and ‘Call of the Wild’, it often shows a struggle between nature, and humanity. A new aspect brought into this story, is a sturggle of  a being that has both nature, and humanity combined in its life form. This of course, is the descritpion of the half dog, half wolf in the book. At times the struggle with in him to control the strong instincts of nature, pulling the other way is the domesticated traits instilled by man. Through out the book, this struggle is portrayed, as the domesticated sisde is assisted by a human, who is learning the difference between the two different sides of the dog.  
 The struggle of humanity, and nature has been well documented in fiction, and non fiction literature through out the history of any literature. But I feel for the first time, light is shed onto a new genre, or branch, of this type of writing. It brings us a hybrid, combining both nature and humanity into one. Although it is an animal, and some arguments could arise of the pureness of the humanity, I f eel that humanity’s influence on nature in this specific instant, should be well documented. Thinking back to other literary works, many come to mind that pit the struggle of an animal, versus say a human. The cloest example I can come up with that relates to what I see London doing, is ‘Frankenstien.’ where it seems both humanity, and nature have been combined, and then had a out side human influence.
 As in past other books, London shows us at first the dark side of nature. In the beginning of the novel, two campers are out in the wilderness with a team of dogs. Night by night London documents to us the cunningness and intelligence of nature as each night one of the mens dogs is lured away and killed by the pack of wolves trailing the two campers. Towards the end of the line, one camper is driven to the point to go after the pack. This proves to be his last mistake as the wolves overwhelm him. Man number two who witnessed this event, is saved by a timely rescue group. A rare time where man conquers nature, in natures enviorment. London shows us how little what we ‘know’ about nature can save us, once we are in natures hand. The instinct of nature and her dwellers shall decide the fate of any piece of humanity that is unfortunate to drift away from the safety of domestication, into the wild.
 Authors usually come up with new methods of writing based on their past writings, and the influence of pasts authors in their fields. As he shows us, his usual topic in his works mainly has to do with nature. On more then two occasions his books main theme has been about wolves. This book is no different. And as he goes along with his pattern of writing, he is able to develop a new writing idea with in a new book.
































A famous Greek philosapher named Plato considered, ?a man who does not know how to swim, is uneducated.? Through out our existence in this world, swimming has been a part of it in one way or another. From the days where fishing was a major occupation, to the recreational activity now associated with summer and beaches.  On every level, swimming exists. To look at many sports that are played captivity, it is difficult to find a sport such as swimming, where it can be used as a recreational activity. On a hot summers day, you don?t yell: ?hey kids! We?re going to the hockey rink to relax!?  Swimming is now also, a major competitive sport, both on a local level, and a very broad international level.  The origin of competivie swimming, actually comes from England. How ever, it should be noted that in the year 1844, two Native Americans were invited to stage an exibition for the London Swimming Society. Spectators were shocked to see a new style of swimming, that easily was faster then the tradition breaststroke used by many competitiors at the time.  It so influenced the sport of swimming, that it was said to have ?completely revolutionized the competitive aspect of swimming.? Although at the location in Eurpoe this style was ?revolutionary?, the Native Indians had been utilizing this style for many centuries.  A very large reason why this sport is actually a very  
American sport.  The influence by the Native Americans, completely changed the way swimming was actually used. Quickly, utilizing the new style shown by the Natives, records were shattered. With out the introduction of this new style, who knows how long it would have taken for a new adaptation of swimming to come around and do what the ?crawl? did.  Today, swimming isn?t a huge national past time such as baseball, but when the time comes during  the famous Olympic Games, you can see the competivie spirit of Americans watch our own go up against the best the world has to offer. That is when the sport brings the most out of people. In the thirty seconds it takes for a competition to be over, the hope of millions on the shoulders of one or two athletes. No matter the out come, will make their country proud.  
 Swimming isn?t a very technical sport. Its all in the name actually, you swim. There are how ever, different types of competitions. These range from 50m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle,  1500m Freestyle, and etc.  The way to win is simple, be the fastest to complete the required number of laps, and you win. Typically, any false start will be penalized by a time delay, or disquilaification of the athlete guilty of the offense. Unlike many sports, swimming is relatively cheap to play. All you need is a body of water that is safe to swim adequate distances in. A major turn off of some sports such as hockey, baseball, and football, are the large costs of equitment. Some parents even fear injury in these sports. Swimming is a low contact sport, so risk of bodily harm is low. No other competitor is in any way trying to keep you from winning, they are to busy attempting to go faster then you.  
Some past stars of American Swimming have mainly been involved in the Olympic competitions of the sport.  One woman star who sticks out among the pack, is Shirley Babashoff.  Whom in the 1972 Olympics, set the standard for US woman when it came to number of medals won.  She earned silver medals in the 100m free, and the 200m free, and a gold in the relay. In the 1976 Olympics she won silvers in 200m free, 400m free, and 800m free. She has been apart of 11 world records, and and 17 American records.  A male counter part named Eric Namesnik,  
Set the American record for the 400m IM, and in this event he has 3 performances that are ranked in the top nine of all time.  
 Some critics of the sport of swimming, are very vague. There hasn?t been many direct attacks on the sport of swimming. Its hard to argue a sport that has no violence involved in it is dangerous, or not a sport at all. It obviously pits us against each other in a battle of strength and endurance.  Some people, such as my self, don?t think swimming is that entertaining of a sport in theory. But when it is actually played at the competitive level, and you see the grit and determination on a players face you soon realzie that this is no different then any sport. There still is heart, and soul put into every race by every player, and you will never find a critic of that.  
  Lindsey Bencko is a strong professional swimmer.she was already a local hero when she  
went off to win many medals in her strong competitions. But a legacy was born one day.  
it was during the relay. a heavily favored Australian team, was almost certain to win. As  
the swimmers went diving about, beads of water seeming like beads of sweat, the  
Australians got a sizable lead. then, it was Lindeys turn. Diving in, it didn’t look that  
clean, but soon she was closing the large gap. Was it shrinking? By her fourth lap there  
was no doubt about it, that gap was gone. now replaced by a stroke and stroke match up,  
which soon Lindsey over took. giving the Americans a lead they would never give up,  
and they went on to win gold.lindsey of course, down played her accomplishment, and  
her friend stressed the same attitude she knew her friend had. “Lindsay always thinks of  
you first and herself second,” says her friend Kowal. “At meets, she's is the one standing  
on deck cheering. Everyone else is sitting down to rest their legs, but not her. She's on  
her feet and yelling.” This is an athlete, who would rather have her team mates get the  
glory, then her self.  
The national identiy of swimming in America, has to be traced back to the days I talked about earlier, when our Native Americans revolutionized the way the sport was played. This doesn?t mean the sport is our to claim, it just should be noted that Americans truly influenced the sport. The spirit of America has always focused on individuals. Such as Capone compared the one man up at the plate, being there for himself, so can you compare the swimmer right before he plunges him self into the water.  He may be there representing his country, but his over all focous is on how he does, his actions coming up, and his hopeful outcome. This is truly such as Capone mentioned, the spirit of America, the spirit of the individual.