English 11: Writing Portfolio    
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the Third

Essay the Fourth


















Life is a long distance race, at least I think it is” said Poppa Frank in 1963 at the age of 83.  “My race is about over” as he closed his eyes for the final time.  I was turning seven in two days but I always remember that Poppa Frank’s life plan was to outlive ‘em, outlast’em, to persist and persevere and to provide the fruits of his labor so that his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren could live a better life than his.
Born in the mountainous region of Panni, Italy in 1910, Poppa Frank was raised with his ten brothers and sisters, helping cultivate the family farm to provide food and barter for life’s bare necessities.
Poppa Frank left Panni, Italy for America at the young age of 16 to join his cousin in Johnston, Rhode Island.  His dream was to provide his family a better life than they had in Italy.  He worked for a land owner raising pigs and goats seven days a week, ten hours a day, then go to a second job helping out a Jewish Jeweler.  He would work for five straight years saving as much as he could.
In 1932, Poppa Frank had saved up enough money to build his own house for $2,000.  He would marry my Nana Rosie.  Poppa Frank would also start his own jewelry business and his own family.  He would bring his family from Italy to America.
Poppa Frank’s house was a small, five room bungalow with a cellar so he could do his jewelry work.  This house reminded me so much of him, a diminutive man of 4’9”.  Yet his heart was that of a man twice his size.  Although by today’s standards his house is not big, to Pop, this was his castle where his family could eat and laugh and cry.  This was his American dream.
Poppa Frank died some ten years ago.  My family lives in  the suburbs in a house twice  as big.  We still visit Nana Rosie for pasta and homemade pie. We have holidays there no more, there is no need. Each day I visit my Nana Rosie in that house that Poppa Frank built brings a holiday feeling to me.
As the branches of the family tree continue to sprout and spread, we all get further away from our roots.  Each time I go to Poppa Frank’s house, I feel closer to my family heritage.  As a family we are going to Italy next summer.  Poppa Frank will be with us in spirit and mind. We want to see the American Dream through his eyes,then I will know who I am.
















   There is a piece of land in the town of Johnston, RI that lies between an elementary school and an old farm.  This piece of land has been seen by many people over the years, whether they drove by it or walked by it.  It sits alone surround on three sides by a metropolis of trees.  In the front of the piece of land is an old stone wall that gives this land a somewhat of historical characteristic.  This piece of land is a field owned by the farm down the road.  It is about a football field and a half long and about 75 yards wide.  This place does not have a name that I am aware of at the moment.  
       As I walk around this place for the first time I get a feeling of comfort.  It seems like this place found me in a way.  It feels like I have been here many times and understand what it is all about.  I feel my mind get set free and there are no worries in the world.  I call this place the “zone.”
 It is November 25, and I am at the “zone”, just sitting on the grass on this magnificent day, and I am thinking of the name I gave this place.  The “zone”, I called it this because when I come here I am in a zone; my zone.  I do things at my pace and see things how I want to see them.  
      While sitting on the grass, I graze my hand through it, like the hair on my head.  The texture, although nothing like that of my own, is smooth and cool.  It is quite smooth and delicate.  The grass is still green, and has not grown since my last visit.  As I watch the grass, it begins to dance and sway as a cool breeze passes by.  When the wind blows through the grass, the grass reminds me of a group of followers, people who repeat and copy the actions of others before them.  When a gust of wind blows, each blade of grass follows the same pattern and movement of a blade next to itself.  
The grass, like us, one time or another we follow some one else, whether we know it or not.
      I entered the “zone” today quite full, because yesterday was Thanksgiving.  The sky is clear today, and extremely sunny.  Fooled by how warm it appeared to be, I dressed somewhat lightly.  The day was crisp and cool.  When I look up at the sky I see the pale blue backdrop that is painted behind the forever radiant sun.  There is not a cloud in the sky to interrupt this masterpiece laid before my eyes.
     The colors of the sky are cool and somewhat relaxing.  They set the mood of the day I lead at times.  Nobody likes when it is cloudy and foggy out, but when we see a bright and sunny sky our moods seem to lighten up a bit.  We all need sunlight in our lives, whether that is during our good times or our bad.
     As I walk around the “zone” in the brisk December air, I notice that this play does not change much.  This must be because of the little interaction it receives with other humans, other than my self.  The sun, still high in the sky, is slowly creeping towards cover behind the massive trees that surround me.  The grass still hasn’t grown at all and the trees, like always during this time of year are naked.  The leaves are still scattered all over, in what seems in a specific place and pattern to nature.
     As I stare at the trunk and bark of this one tree, I can’t help but think how old it is.  I think about how many winters this tree must have been through.  The bark is a charcoal color, with some brown; it also is chipped and cracked in many places, and looks like it is about to fall off.  When I take a couple of steps back I gaze up and notice the height of this massive tree.  It seems to be about 60 feet high and about a foot and a half thick.
     How could such a natural creation last so long, by just feeding off of the mere soil it is bound to, and carbon dioxide?  It seems rather simple to me, where as what we do to survive in the world; workout, take vitamins, and eat the right foods.  I believe the irony in all this is in the fact that we do not always need to complex our lives to live.  
I always come prepared with the same things I came with the first time I had encountered this place; my notebook and a blue pen.
     The clouds, smothering the sun, are taking over the sky like and army, and the day seemingly getting colder as every minute elapses.  As I casually glance down at the ground I see a leaf; an ordinary leaf.  I picked it up and studied it for about a minute or two.  The leaf was a light brown color, and was curled at the edges like it was trying to get warm.  Throughout the surface of the leaf were many tiny holes, probably that of an insect that had been gnawing at a previous time.  The texture was somewhat smooth and delicate.  The edges were somewhat brittle and sensitive to any touch; when I touched an edge it seemed to crack and snap as if crying for help.
    The leaf is dead, like all the others on the ground around me that have been striped unwilling from their pedestals high in the trees.  This leaf means nothing to me, but at one time meant something to another thing; a tree.  This leaf was part of a “family” so to speak.
    In relation to humans, we are all part of something in this world we live in, even though we feel we are not at times.  Although we may not always be in the “in” crowd or the popular one, we are all part of a whole bigger group or crowd; we are part of the human race.  Unlike the “in” crowd, being a human is something that is permanent.  Being in this group of humans leaves us with endless boundaries.  We are able to do what we want and when we want to do them, you are your own crowd and you control your destiny.





























When it comes to writing horror stories, and stories that get into the head of the character, and lets the reader know what makes this character tick.  There is only but one person who comes to mind; Edgar Allan Poe.  Born in Boston in 1809, Poe was one of the original writers of Horror.  He was one of the first to see nature as a dark and sedistic place.  Poe is also considered to be one of the original writers of the "modern detective story" when he wrote"The Murders in the Rue Morgue."  Although through out his life, Poe's work was not very famous.  He made verry little money off of his work, and struggled though out life with his addictions.  
After searching through many of his works, there is one that stuck out in my mind that had a little bit more meaning in it than the others.  "The Tell Tale Heart", to me, is one of Poe's more read short stories and more liked.   This story is a great example of Poe's way of writing.  He gets right into the mind of this no named character, and lets the reader understand what makes this man tick.
"Would a madman have been so wise as this?  Poe uses different things in his story The Tell Tale Heart.  He uses this character, the "madman", to describe a murderous deed that he has committed.  He tells this murder in great detail, while still trying to convince himself that he is not mad, but is genius.  This "madman" thinks up the most extrodinary scheme and follows through on it.  
"For is was not the old man who vexed me but his Evil Eye.   Poe brings this Evil Eye to life in the story.  He makes it a central character and main reason for the murder.  This Eye was given detail to that of a monster.  The Eye only affected the Narrator when it was looking at him.  Poe creates something mystical about the Eye and makes it powerfull.  
"You fancy me mad.  Madmen know nothing."  Poe writes about the internal feel of a man that might show remorse after a murder.  The "madman" even after the murder is still tryin to convince himself that it was the right thing to do and that he is not mad.  Even after he invites the cops in to search the place, he invites them to sit down and talk.  At this point Poe writes about this sound, similar to the ticking of a watch, that the narrator starts to hear.  This sound although a figure of his imagination leads the reader to believe that his guilt has risen to the surface.
"There was nothing to wash out--no stain of any kind--no blood-spot whatever."  Poe gives us a first glimpse at the idea of a perfect murder.  It is conceived that there is no such thing as a perfect murder, and Poe was out there to argue this fact.  Although there was no blood and no stain the idea of a perfect murder is that no one would find out who committed the crime.  This madman commits this perfect murder but fails to keep it a secret.  Poe believes in this idea that there is no perfect murder, because one way or another the truth will be set free.  It is the guilt inside us that will never make anything as haenous as murder a sercret.  "Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed!"

































In 1823 in Rugby, England, the sport rugby was believed to be created.  While playing football or soccer, a man named William Webb Ellis, with full disreguard to the rules, decided to pick up the ball and run with it down the field.  But how is Rugby American, if American at all.  Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass, May 5, 1874, was the first recorded game of Rugby in America.  The first game, Harvard University hosted Montreal's McGill University.  
As Rugby started to increase in popularity, The United States had an Olympic team in four Olympic games(1900, 1908, 1920, 1924).  The Unites States captured the Gold 1920 and 1924.  Although the sport seemed to be growing in popularity, the International Olympic Committee(IOC) removed Rugby from the Olympics. After this blow to the Rugby community, people began to lose interest, and Rugby remained in a dormant state for about a half century.  
The second comming of Rugby began in the 1960's and continued straight through the 1970's.  As Rugby starting becomming more popular again, the US wanted to create a community that would embrace Rugby and not let it fall again, so the US created the Internation rugy committee.  Chicago 1974 four territorial organizations met and created the United States of America Rugby Football Union, which later came to be called USA Rugby.  Over the years and until this day the USA Rugby is made up of seven Territorial Unions (TUs) and 37 Local Area Unions (LAUs), and has more than 50,000 members.
I asked a fellow student and player of Rugby Gerard Kennedy, "How is Rugby American?", he said "Ya know I really don't know.  I guess the team aspect, that's made up of all different kinds of people."  
Gerard later went on explaining some of the rules or law as they are called. Some of these laws include:  Number of players(15 per team), Tackling(you must wrap your arms around the player), Tossing(you can only toss the ball backwards), and when you get tackled its a dead ball. Later after doing research, I found out that there are 28 Laws.  
"League is a game for the battlers
from the days of the Langlands and Sattlers.
Week in and week out
until hoarse they would shout
then travel home on the red rattlers."
This is the first stanza from the poem "Rugby League" written by Julian Clark.  Clark wrote this Rugby poem about the Rugby League.  
Although there is little if none poems or stories about how rugby is American, the poem by Julian Clark could be translated in any country.  As for Rugby being American, it's in the player, fan, coach, referee, and any one who has something to do with the sport's being.  Any sport is American if it is believed by some one.