English 11: Writing Portfolio    
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the Third

Essay the Fourth

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   As I look around and see tourists in awe of how beautiful this place is, I begin to realize how lucky I am. I can remember myself thinking the same thing when I first saw Castle Island. This place has been dear to my family and most residents of South Boston for hundreds of years. I am fortunate to live not more than a stones throw away from this spectacular place.  For some they are used to taking field trips there and being bored out of their minds. But it is not just a place for learning it is also a place for fun. My grandfather spent a lot of his time at Castle Island and it became like a second home to him as he got older. And Since I can remember my father has taken me out to the park there and I could play all day. My grandfather James F. Dahill even has a park in Castle Island named in his memory. So this is truly a place dear to our hearts.
      When most people think of South Boston Castle Island comes to mind. For generations it has been the hot spot for tourists as well as people who lived there their whole lives. It never gets old, it can attract people from three years old to eighty years old. But it has a special meaning to my family. When I was younger my father would take me out to the park and he would sit and talk with my Grandfather before he passed. He had moved here in the early 1900's, this was the first part of America he truly fell in love with. He would say that it brought back memories of old times and would really cheer him up. I didn’t exactly understand how at the time but I have begin to comprehend the meaning behind his love for Castle Island.  
      Some people may not realize what is so great about Castle Island. For me it is not about memories and reminiscence just yet, but about having a good time. However I do have memories of going into the haunted house in the castle and being scared to death and watching the tall ships sail in from the top of the castle when i was only five. The beach at Castle Island is also a special place for my family. Both of my sisters, my brother and my father have been lifeguards at this beach. I spent most of my summer days this year out sailing in the lagoon and just relaxing on the beach. And I hope to be a lifeguard there some time in the near future. So as you can see Castle Island holds a lot more value than just history. It is almost as if once you get there your problems are left behind.  
      There are many memories that come out of Castle Island. All “Southie” families have their own stories of good times they had there. But to me I just enjoy being there even if it doesn’t bring back memories. My Grandfather has been here since the beginning of the 1900’s when he came over from Ireland. He once told me that it reminded him of Ireland. It is almost like when you enter Castle Island you are in a new world. It reminded him of his homeland yet it was a land of freedom so he had the best of both worlds. Although he came to America in search of opportunity and a new life, he still enjoyed an old taste of home and that was important to him. That is why Castle Island is a very special place for my family as well as many others.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I pass the entrance to the Eddy almost three times a day. However I have been in there only a few times. I know that it used to be a busy place because of the old, rotted, broken down factory off in the distance. The Eddy is approximately the size of a football field. But it is a completely new world than the urban surroundings I am accustomed to. It feels like I am in the jungle when I enter, however I am only a stones throw away from home. It has become a place that is just sort of off limits. There are signs that say no trespassing, however we all wonder why. No one works there and we dont see any danger.  Every now and then you here rumors about it. That if you go back there the chemicals from the old plant will get you sick, I have even heard about the factory being haunted, but of course nothing ever happens. But I figured I would go back there just to check it out.
     It was a cold cloudy day in late November. It was unusually chilly for fall, maybe thirty degrees out. It felt like rain or maybe even snow was coming, however there was no precipitation at the time. It was an odd and dreary feeling being back there. I felt cut off from the outside world. The ground was wet from prior snowfall. The leaves lit up the ground in many different colors such as brown and orange. You would think it would be beautiful however the mud managed to damage the leaves image. I do not notice any signs of life. No birds, no squirrels. A few empty beer bottles with faded lables lie under a huge tree but no other signs of human interference.  I think that maybe they are getting ready to fly South. It is a dark, depressing feeling that is given off. Everything seems dead. I leave for today, with an urge to explore somewhere more exciting. But despite my instincts I stuck with the eddy.
     The next day was a change for the better. It was cool but almost refreshing out. It was unusually nice for late November. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was only a few days after my first visit to the Eddy but it seemed like a whole new world. The first thing that caught my eye was the liveliness brought by just the whether. There were hundreds of birds, from Robins to seagulls. Some were flying and some were sitting in the still lifeless trees. Small grey squirrels were chasing each other kicking up leaves behind them. I look over to the abandoned factory. Suddenly it came to life in my head. The simple change in weather allowed me to see the Eddy as a hustling, bustling place. It is now a place of extraordinary beauty rather than depressing. I began to realize how nature can bring you to life.  
         My third visit became one of the worst days. It was even worse than the first. The ground was soaked and the leaves were black. It was one of those days where you shouldn’t have left your house. The leaves weren't illuminating the ground at all. As we make the change from Fall to Winter it is certainly not the best time of the year.The wind was howling and it was raining. The water was dripping off the hood of my raincoat and into my face. I took a look over in the distance at a tree holding on for its last life of spring. It looked as if someone was pulling the trees down but it was just the power of the wind. It is tough to see more than fifty feet in front of my because of all the fog but I managed. I walk deeper into the eddy and discover a path. I follow it watching out for the twigs sticking in my face. I am very excited almost a feeling of comfort to find a new place. But typical of the kind of day it was I found nothing.  
      I tried to take a different approach for my last day down at the Eddy. I was becoming very familiar with the surroundings. So I decided to test how well I knew it. I went down at night. It was a brutally cold night in December. There was no life left around. Wherever the birds were, they must have been somewhere warm by now. I think to myself how great it would be to be a bird. Just fly anywhere at the drop of a hat. I decide to take a look under the trees. The moon was reflecting through the bare branches on the tree. I began to think how nature can be very beautiful. It changes so much but it is always exciting.
      Now after my experience at the Eddy I have really grown in my appreciation for Nature. I have realized how it can change your mood, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. It all depends on the time, season, and weather. So much changes throughout only a few weeks and it is an amazing sight to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     American Literature is considered by some to be the most enjoyable type of reading available. But there is one author that takes the crown in this category. This is none other than Mark Twain. His most famous works include Tom Sawyer and The adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain was the first person to write exactly how people spoke rather than in perfect english. After growing up alongside the Mississippi it became the setting of Life of the Mississipi, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. However he learned others along the way. His works tend to be very entertaining and simple. One of these is a short story called Luck. It describes how Luietenant General Arthur Scorsesby became a way hero by Luck. It's a plot that could have been thought of in a little under an hour. However you would never think anyone would do it, that is what makes Luck so intriguing.
  The short story luck was the first piece of American literature to talk about the Crimean war. It is a mostly European war which tends to show up in British Literature. American literature tends to focus on lighter topics than war. But if it does focus on war it usually discusses the civil war or the World Wars.  However if Mark Twain was the creator of American literature, then he had no guidelines to follow. It is amazing the wide variety of topics that he can write about. Twain must be a very worldly man for he has experty on topics that range from a boy's journey to manhood to something as serious as war. 
  Mark Twain has the special talent of using symbolism in a way that makes things seem less harsh. In the story luck he says "He's a fool, He's an absolute fool." Never in my life have I heard a war hero been called a fool. Mark Twain was used to taking criticism for his works. They have often been band from schools and even taken off the shelves of libraries. However I have rarely heard of the story Luck being controversial. In this Twain has a lightness to the tone of his writing. It often pokes fun of the gravity of war. He indirectly makes war out to be a guessing game. General Arthur Scoresby is made out to be a fool not a war hero at all.  This is unlike anything else I have ever seen. War heroes should be wrote about with pride and dignity, not made out to be idiotic.  
  Of course these are the obvious focus of the story Luck but the setting is an interesting one for Twain. American Literature tended to focus on the outdoors. Luck however iis an indoor banquet setting. It is simply amazing how he can switch up his stories so much, you can't help but wonder what it was like in his mind. Many authors such as Jack London focus on a similar setting for all there books. London usually had an outdoor,wilderness setting which was usually in the winter time. I guess you can almost say if you read one of his stories you read them all. But Twain mixes it up. His main setting is the Mississippi River but he runs away from repetition with Luck.  
  So clearly Mark Twain loves to be the topic of controversy with such novels as Huck Finn. However this short story Luck did not have quite the excitement that some of his others did. Luck is an in depth look at his look on war and how it is a huge guessing game. He turns a simple war story into something almost comedic. But this story is definetely a nice break from the scares of war . Twain likes to entertain people with his writing no matter what it takes. That is a skill only some can posess but he does it. That is why Mark Twain is the founding father of American Literature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without a question Americans have been attracted to the fast and exciting sports. One of the most popular is Boxing. Boxing has been around for centuries but not until it came to America did it become so popular. In the age of big time promotion you could be paying close to fifty dollars to watch a fight at your house! Boxers such as Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Tyson are becoming househould names, which makes this sport truly American.
 
 Boxing has often been referred to as the "manly art of self defense". To the average boxing fan boxing could just look like two big goons out their to kill eachother. But it is actually a very skillful sport in which two fighters exchange combinations of punches in order to knock out their opponent. But in Boxing defense is also a key component to a strong fighter. Some of the best such as Muhammad Ali can make it look so easy. However hundreds of hours are spent in the Gym in preparing for a fight.  
 
Boxing might involve more strategy than any other sport. Heavyweight champion Vitale Klitchsko was quoted in Sports Illustrated as saying " Boxing is two men communicating with fists". A great deal of pride and confidence is required to be a successful boxer. Even the most humble of fighters think their the best.
 
Modern day boxing just came about in 1886. The Marquess of Queensberry gave way to a new, more humane, set of rules. The jist of these rules have stuck. These set of rules forbid gouging as well as wrestling, it also made gloves mandatory. The days of bareknuckle Boxing ended with the last professionally sanctioned bout in 1892. Since then Boxing has been the same as which we know today, with the exception of different gloves, and more weight classes.  
 
Slow moving sports that involve a lot of strategy seem to have Americans changing channels. We are looking for non stop action that gives a quick adrenaline rush. Soccer is probably the most watched sport worldwide. However it is not quite appreciated in America. But boxing matches are anticipated for close to a year before they even happen. Mere rumors of a major title fight will be a topic of huge conversation. Boxers have gone from being brutal beasts that are good for nothing but entertainment to American Icons.
 
When I think of America I think of a community comig together. The town of Brockton Massachusetts was brought together in the mid 1900's by a man by the name of Rocky Marciano. Stil today you see all kinds of signs of the pride this town has of this great competitor. He was an undefeated Heavyweight Champion coming from small town America, to me that is American. Their is even a minor league baseball team in Brockton called the Brockton Rox named after him.  
 
I recently watched an HBO film titled undefeated. This was an extraordinary piece of work which showed the struggle and hard work involved in living the American dream. The fictional main character Lex Vargas came from a very poor part of New York. But he worked hard and got him and his family out of the ghetto and into a great house. This is an american story that is lived by so many people every day and dreamt about by those trying to turn it into reality.  
  
My uncle Charlie was a small time professional boxer. He had fought all over the world. He said that in no other place do people get as pumped up then in a hometown fight. When he would fight in places like Japan or England he could never get in to the fight. I recently watched a film involving the fight between Muhamid Ali and George Foreman which took place in Africa. Now if this fight had taken place at Ceasars Palace or The MGM Grand you would not be able to here yourself think. But it has been said that you could of heard a pin drop at this fight. Which just goes to show the great appreciation for Boxing that Americans show.
  
Everyone knows that baseball is the American past time, and nothing will ever change that. However I feel boxing is becoming more and more American with every fight. People don't just watch because it is on. They watch because they love the energy brought to the table. The feeling of watching your favorite fighter knock his opponent onto the canvas. It is truly becoming an American favorite.