English 11: Writing Portfolio    
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the Third

Essay the Fourth



















An important piece of land to my family is my old house in Hyde Park.  It is important to us because it was the first piece of land that my parents owned since they came to this country from Haiti.  My parents first lived in an apartment in Dorchester. The size of the apartment became a problem because it housed my parents, my grandmother, my older brother, my uncle, and me. My parents then decided to move and chose to buy a house in Hyde Park.  We lived in Hyde Park for 15 years and it has filled us with memories of good times and bad.  There were more good times than bad.  I new most of my neighbors and many of my cousins lived near by. I experienced everything in my life first at that house.  It was a three family house with each floor as an apartment.  There was also a large back yard.  My family and I lived on the first floor.  The apartment was large and you could always here noise outside.  There was the sound of children playing two houses over, the sound of the buses as they passed by, and the noise of Hyde Park high school students laughing as they waited for the bus every afternoon.
  The memories are what truly made this piece of land important.  Everything was always close by. I could go a month without leaving my neighborhood.  There was a Spanish bodega down the street on the right side and a convenience store to the left of the house, there was also a gas station next to the house.
Growing up there I got to see the neighborhood change.  At first Hyde Park was predominately white then over the course of a few years it became more mixed with black and Hispanics.  This represents that it is an American piece of land. My piece of America.  It is a melting pot of all sorts of cultures.  You could here Spanish music playing from a house nearby and Haitian music playing from the neighbors.





























Walking in the thicket for the first time I can see that there has been little human interference to it.  I had passed this place many times and never even thought of how having so little human influence made it a very unique and rare piece of land.  It is populated with trees.  They seem to form a community and move together simultaneously when the wind blows.  We too are like the trees in that no two people are the same and we each at times want to be alone but never lonely.
The area is about the size of two football fields.  The only sign of people is the road that cuts through these woods and leads from Hyde Park, passed Georgetown, and into Dedham.  Being in these woods the crowdedness of the trees creates a feeling of isolation and remoteness.  The trees loosing their leaves seem pitiful and apathetic.
The air is cold, lifeless and mute.  All that can be heard is of white noise and cars passing by.  The trees are leafless and their branches are entangled in themselves as if they were choking each other.  We as people choke each just like the branches by stealing from one another and killing each other out of hatred and jealousy.  There are pieces of shattered glass bottles on the ground and there are large rocks that are covered in graffiti faded from years of erosion.  It appears as though society has vandalized nature.  
The trees are the only things alive here.  All of the squirrels and insects have gone.  The wind moves the branches of the trees and makes the tree shiver from the cold.  The branches reach toward the sky like hands reaching for the warmth of the sun or desire for the rain.  People when they?re at their saddest times look to God and prayer and it seems that even the trees a less complicated form of life do the same.
A du-rag was left on the ground at the thicket.  It was all black, torn and covered in dirt.  Du-rags are part of urban culture and apparel.  It is ironic for it to be discarded in these particular woods because they lead into the suburbs as if the culture is lost on the way.  



























"A Fable for critics" by James Russell Lowell critiques other famous writers and their works.  It is poem that is broken up into separate installments for each author.  This poem makes use of end rhyme in a clever way that helps the flow of the poem move along quite quickly as this is a rather long poem.  What Lowell has done to make this different from every other poem is that it critiques on the well-known authors of the time, including him, and what they have accomplished.  Another unique quality of this poem is that it is self aware that it is a poem written in the first person.  At one point he says, "But, to come back to Emerson, (whom by the way, I believe we left waiting,)."  
Lowell uses speech as a literary tool much like Mark Twain did with "Huckleberry Finn".  He uses made up words and phrases such as "clapt bodge-podge" and "bemummying". He also uses Tis and T'were.  This stands out because this poem was published in 1848, when this method of speech had long since died out.These are all things already done in literature but this is the first time that they have been incorporated together in one work and the first time that a poem had been outlined in the way that Lowell has done.
This was also the first time that an author examined himself in his work.  He even goes as far as to critique ancient poetry.  In a way this makes lowell a revolutionary poet.  While reading the poem it seems that he will not rest until he critiques every major literary figure including himself and all of ancient poetry. The way the poem is outlined its looks almost like he's made a hit list of each author he will discuss. He doesn't point out any mistakes or give any kind of negative critism. He congradulates their accomplishments and gives advice to the readers on whens best to read it.
James Russel Lowel uses about twelve sylables a line, alowing the reader to predict his next line. He also makes use of metphors and symbolism in each line.  He also opens each section in the same way each time, first by introducing.  To make the first person view of this poem more interesting he asks rhetorical questions making it seem more like a conversation with the reader as if the reader can talk to the poem.
"A Fable for Critics" is a masterpiece of American literature because it is completely unique. There are no other poems like it and it stands alone in its own category.  It gives an in depth review at literature at this point in history. He did not dishonor them as would be expected by a critique. The title itself "A Fable for Critics" suggests that he may be setting an example for critics not to criticize harshly and to look at all the good that these authors have done.




























Watching Hockey for the first time, it looks like two teams of men on skates with sticks trying to get a puck into the goal.  As you get captured by the sport you come to realize that it has a destinct flavor compared to other sports.  No other sport feels the same way as hockey does. Hearing the thunderous boom of players being slamed against the walls as players brawl to get control of the puck it seems almost barbaric. Players appear to be on the verge of killing eachother. Some watch hockey just to see fights but in doing that they blind themsleves from the virtues that make hockey such a great sport. This is one of the reasons why hockey is slowly losing its popularity in America.
Hockey's origins are not known: "Hockey was one of the earliest stick-and-ball games.  The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, and Arabs played forms of the sport" (MSN 1).  What is known is that it did not start in North America. Hockey is believed to have started in Europe.  Hockey was influenced by other sports such as Lacrosse, which was developed by the Native Americans.  Hockey is thought to have gotten its name from the French word hoquet meaning Shepard's hook.  It was brought to North America through Canada.  Hockey is now one of the most popular sports in America. Hockey is American because it did not originate in America instead it immigrated. America is a country built by immigrants. Like any foreigner it has earned its citizenship.  So many people enjoy it because it is a simple game and can even be barbaric at times. Fights are punished be minutes being unable to play.
Speed is a crucial factor in Hockey since Hockey is one of the fastest sports.  "I made a big mistake of being to big last year, it took away from my speed"-Jeremy Roenick. Like any sport Hockey players have to stay in the right build. Even though they skate around on ice they still have to stay in top shape.  Hockey is the only sport in which substitutions are made in the middle of play.  This makes it American in a way. America is fast paced and doesn't waite for anyone.
       Hockey has remained for the most part unchanged. All other sports have integrated with different races and cultures.  There have been a very few blacks in the sport of hockey. It seems that along with the civil rights movement sports in America started to integrate along with the rest of America but hockey remained the same. Few African Americans have ever played in the NHL.  Willy O'Ree became the first Black NHL player.  Hockey has gone this far with so little change. It may never change, but will always be part of America.
Unlike America Hockey's popularity seems to be slowly fading.  Maybe it is because it has failed to diversify itself and America is becoming more and more mixed.  There are now attempted to get more diversity in the sport but it is not catching on with other cultures.  If Hockey is to live on with the country it will have to change along with Americas society.