English 11: Writing Portfolio    
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the Third

Essay the Fourth


















 He lived there since his birth.  The man talks about this place occasionally, although it does not exist anymore.  This place was just like the rest of them but it was special to him because it was the first.  The man I speak of is my grandfather.  Over the years he sat me down and spoke to me about the farm where he grew up and where he spent working most of his teenage years.  Waltham was and still is his home.  
      The farm was one of my grandfathers many areas that he loved. The land was of American soil and that is what my grandfather loved the most.  My grandfather was the hardest worker you would ever see.  He would work all day if he could but his family would not let him.  He told me,"I loved putting my hands in the soft rich soil in the morning."  The farm is special to him because he knew that no one else owned but his family.  This big piece of land was all his and no one could take that away from him.  
      They grew all sorts of things on the farm.  Fruits and vegetables mainly, and my grandfather took pride in planting every one of those seeds.  My grandfather always told me, "I loved the way the shine off the tomatoes would gleam in the morning.  That's when you know you made one hell of a tomato."  Dagostino Farm was one place that my grandfather would talk about when you brought something up about it.  He used to tell me how he did not get paid much but he did not expect to be paid much because this land had all the pleasures he wanted.  He worked like a horse on the farm and he made a plethora of money off of it.  "We lived off the land and sold everything to everyone", my grandfather recalled. He was proud of this piece of land because he knew he put all this hard work into it and he knew that that is why it was so popular.  
      When Dagostino Farm had to be left alone and closed because farms were just not big in the city anymore my grandfather told me he was sad.  He said, "I didn't know what i was going to to next."  Without that piece of land his first everything was taken away from him physically but he still had his memories about the farm.  So just because he could not see the farm any longer he could still remember the good times he had on it and the wealth him and his family made from it.  Sometimes you have to realize that some things that are important to some people are important to them because of the memories and not because of what they gained from it.
      My grandfather will always tell me about the farm and I will never ask him to stop telling me.  The farm is American in a great deal of ways.  The family had freedom to grow whatever they wanted.  It gives me joy to hear him talk about something he loves and to see the smile on his face when he thinks of something that happened.  For me the land is special because I get to hear all the stories about how it was maintained and the ruckus that used to go on but that is something that my mothers family will always have with them and they will never forget it.



































Today The Pit was unusually dark and lonesome. Usually the animals, like squirrels, are scurrying around The Pit.  Today the trees hung over The Pit like a dome. Light was not being able to pass through and give life to The Pit.  It was cold and I could not find a warm place to sit so I had to settle for a worn down rotten log.  The smell of dried up leaves that rustle beneath my feet make a nice soothing sound.  The taste of my snickers as I wait around for the pitch-black darkness to settle in keeps my hunger satisfied.  We can all visualize what can happen to this pit when the animals take it over but as long as we can share this it is my sanctuary.  We should all be thankful for places like these in a community so close.
     On this mild Tuesday I find myself discovering a multitude of branches in the center of The Pit.  The cause of these branches is probably because of the heavy winds that roared through Waltham the night before.  I began to smell the pine that was staring me right in the face as I accidentally fell into the tree.  After I gathered myself, I started to clear out the branches that were ruining the beautiful site of The Pit.  These branches were bringing a presence of disorganization that The Pit had with every rock and log placed in the most perfect position.  They brought a sense of the city where trash is like a blanket of shame to its true colors.  We as a community do not think of these things unless confronted with the issue.  We should pick up the piece of trash we see on the sidewalk, but we just walk passed it thinking it’s just one piece.  In reality about 1000 people say that each day and it does add up.
     On this Saturday afternoon I come to The Pit to settle down after a day of working at my job.  I found a rock that looked perfect to be hurled at this man who almost got me fired over the price of broccoli.  It does sound foolish but at least at The Pit my emotions are let out with no shame, for no one would be able to hear me.  I begin to look around and notice a speck of light that beamed down on The Pit's dark and damp floor.  This light led me to believe that maybe I should try and open up The Pit so that the rocks and logs would be warmed by the suns rays when I come to ponder.  This then led me to reminisce of the time the city was knocking down some trees and a playground was destroyed because of this massacre.  I then decided to leave The Pit as it is because if I disturbed its formation then terrible things may happen.  If The Pit were to be destroyed I wouldn’t be able to find another place that is as peaceful, where I could call my own.  We should not try to fix what should not be tampered with and because we do that we ruin Mother Nature.  Though to a majority of people a group of trees isn’t perfect, like The Pit to me, it is my sanctuary.
     On this bitter cold Monday, I find myself walking out of my house thinking maybe I should not go out today because I have come down with pneumonia.  In spite of that I venture on up the lane, which I live on and take my pen, paper, and tissues into The Pit.  The smell of a Halls cough drop before it soothes my throat is satisfying.  Snow began to fall, covering the blanket already hugging the ground.  The trees branches began to sink for they could not hold these white crystals falling upon them.  Snow brings a smile to my face because The Pit and hill above it are great for snowboarding.  But I must wait until I overcome this cold and The Pit is confined with snow.  The wind blows the fluff off of the trees weak branches and now The Pit looks just right.  With a floor of white and stones covered too, it reminds me of Christmas.  Unlike other things, The Pit does not need decorations; it is a snowy wonderland when in this state.  We need to open our eyes and look at our sanctuary and take in such a wonderful site.  If we cannot do that we do not have a chance at realizing true nature.
     Today was a cold and frigid day.  Once again I find a log to sit upon.  There are a multitude of animals scurrying around The Pit.  The wind is picking up and the chill is agitating.  As I look around I notice that The Pit, even though cold, is peaceful.  The road outside of The Pit is busy with cars going Christmas shopping.  Inside The Pit the noises of the street cannot distract me.  This is my sanctuary and as long as no one discovers The Pit, it is mine.  We should all have a sanctuary that is our own.  Without these things we could not posses a clear mind.  Sanctuaries are all we have left for clearing our mind in nature; we should use it to the fullest.
     Nature is what a human needs to maintain a healthy conscience.  We all need nature to go into to just let go and be ourselves.  When people are alone they have a chance to run wild and let out all their frustration.  Nature can help us relax and let all our burdens slide off our shoulders.  The trees, rocks, logs, and leaves have a beautiful essence, perfectly placed when looked at the most perfect moment.  This is what The Pit brought to me and with The Pit I have lost my burdens and gained a peaceful soul.  





























  Herman Melville lived from 1819 to 1891.  He wrote poems and the novel Moby thingy.  Moby thingy is one of America's timeless classics.  The Maldive Shark is a poem that is not as well known as Moby thingy but it is different from other poems.  The narrator explains a shark and what its features are in just sixteen lines.  Melville took a subject as simple as a shark's body and formed it into a great piece of poetry.  The narrator takes the shark and glorifies his presence in the water.  Although the narrator gives the shark respect to the creature he deems it to be lazy.  The Maldive Shark is a piece of poetry that is different in a literal sense because not many poets degrade creatures in their poems.  But in a figurative sense because Melville takes his poem and uses diction that normally people would not use, and gives the theme of amazement towards a creature he hasn't even come in contact with.  
     The Maldive Shark is a poem in which it involves the first time a poet uses characterization for a shark being a non-threat to other sea creatures.  In the first line of the poem the narrator calls the shark unemotional and calm.  The narrator is going against what most people would think of a shark, which is being a terror to swimmers and craving anything that is in sight.  But in this case the shark is being compared to other sea creatures as a friend.  The narrator gives the shark its rightful presence as a dominant figure in the sea creature kingdom.  The other fish must be on high alert whenever he passes by but that is only because he is feared.  The shark has this overpowering presence about him that other sea creatures have to respect.  “From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw, they have nothing of harm to dread,” this was a line that caught my eye because the narrator is showing the reader that with these powerful jaws how could he have anyone to fear.  He is also fast and sleek and one would think to oneself that this creature would not be able to be defeated.    
     The narrator gives more to the fact that the shark is sluggish when this line comes up, “They are friends; and friendly they guide him to prey, yet never partake of the treat –. “  The line shows that other fish guide him to prey so he does not have to do anything but eat them.  This shows that without fish fearing this creature he would have to gather food on his own and take care of himself.  Saying that a shark would not be able to do that would be out of line but I am I person who believes that sometimes that top dog (or shark in this case) should be taken down.  The narrator is giving too much praise to this one creature.  If other fishes and dolphins revolted against this shark then he would lose.  It is a known fact that if a creature is outnumbered it has a slim chance of succeeding.  With that in mind one shark against a whole sea of fishes would be even more doubtful that one thing could succeed.
     For Melville to pick a character such as a shark is surprising in that most poems during the 19th century focused on depression.  But when a poet writes about the ocean he or she focuses on the sea as a whole and not one specific animal.  Melville took this piece of poetry and made something no one else would think about during that time.  With the language in the poem the narrator gives the poem some class as to just having a childlike telling of a shark.  The narrator chooses the use a certain diction that for most readers baffles them and a dictionary must be at hand.  For certain people when that happens a respect for the piece of writing is formed.  The Maldive Shark brings something to poetry that no other poem brought during the 19th century.  I am not saying that poetry was not great until The Maldive Shark was written.  But that The Maldive Shark gave poetry something it was missing.
     The Maldive Shark is a piece of poetry that in my mind I could not deal without.  This poem has given me a new respect for poetry in that a creature such as a shark can be taken in with such praise.  We need to think about why poetry is so essential in life.  Without poetry this world would be missing something.  Through poetry thoughts are released in a special way and The Maldive Shark gave the poetry world in depths look at a shark in sixteen lines.  Melville wanted to do something that no one else did in the poetry world and he accomplished it.  Being the first poet to use a shark as just another creature but still a step ahead of the rest is what he wanted to do.  Although there are many poems of sharks now, The Maldive Shark will be the first and greatest to explain a shark and its life.




























    Lacrosse originated among Native Americans possibly as early as the 15th century. It was not only a form of recreation but also a method of settling disagreements between tribes, and a way of training for war. Participants varied in number. Sometimes games lasted for many days, starting at sunrise and ending at sunset.  As time went on lacrosse became more and more of a world wide sport but keeping its roots in the United States.  In more modern times, the sport has been played by many but only mastered by few.  It is played by men and women of all ages.  From the Native Americans creating the game, it is an American sport, since it was created on the soils of the United States.
     Here are some basics of the game of lacrosse.  A lacrosse ball weighs 5 to 5.3 ounces and is 8 inches in circumference.  Goals are similar in shape to a hockey goal. Lacrosse goals are 6 ft by 6 ft poles with a pyramid-shaped netting stretched at its apex 7 ft behind the goal line.  Sticks are generally 40-72 inches long for men and 36-44 inches long for women. Stick material includes wood, aluminum, graphite, or titanium. Goalie sticks are allowed to exceed 10 inches wide at the head.  Men's field lacrosse has 10 players each side. A natural or artificial turf field is 60 yards wide by 110 yards long. The goal is 15 yards from the end boundaries.   Men's box lacrosse has 6 players on each side. The hard playing surface is 90 feet wide by 180-200 feet long. Box lacrosse is played mostly indoors in hockey arenas.  Women's field lacrosse has 12 players on each side. The field is 70 yards by 120 yards. Women's lacrosse is a non-contact sport requiring more finesse and skill.  As you can see men’s and women’s lacrosse have some differences.  The main difference is that in means lacrosse checking is allowed and in women’s it is not.
     I interviewed Waltham High captain Brett McCue.  He has thirty goals on the season and is optimistic of the upcoming playoffs.  “When I first started playing lacrosse I was only focused on hitting people, but as I kept on playing, I matured as a player and began to get a good grip on my skills.”  In this quote I feel that Brett has given a good description of what a lacrosse player sees at the beginning of his career and as he moves on.  As the interview went on I asked Brett how he thought Lacrosse is American.  He sarcastically said, “Lacrosse is American…Native American…but seriously it’s American because when your on the field, your with your brothers and you know their gonna protect you when you need it the most.”  America is all about helping one another out and being there for one another.  Brett put it in a good way by saying brothers, because when in hard times America bonds together like brothers.
     Lacrosse has never been a top sport of mine to even watch, but as I hear more about the game from my friends, I find myself intrigued by the sport.  The grace of the players and continuous movement of the game is exciting.  America is always in motion and always changing.  New ideas and new opinions come into American minds each and every day.  In the game of Lacrosse, there are certain plays and forms that have to be mastered for a person to be great at the sport.  The best part of the game is the final two minutes.  If it is a close game both the team that is down scrambles to get that last goal and there is so much intensity which can be seen.  In hockey and basketball usually the game is slowed down and there is not as much excitement as there is in Lacrosse.  In the United States we have that intensity and love for sports.
     Europe and the other parts of the world have soccer and we have a love for a multitude of sports that we love.  Lacrosse is an upcoming sport and will soon be part of the mainstream circuit.  A few games of Lacrosse are broadcasted on ESPN, but until they are viewed regularly on non cable channels, the sport will stay at the same level as it is now.  We live in a nation that lives for sports and loves rivalries.  There are many rivalries in baseball, basketball, hockey and other sports.  But those sports are part of a widely viewed audience.  Lacrosse is surprisingly not a well viewed sport, since it was originated on American soil.  As time goes on Lacrosse will be seen more and given a chance to present itself to the U.S.  When that day comes America will have found its new flavor.