English 11: Writing Portfolio
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the Third

Essay the Fourth




















      John Gemelli just wanted freedom and new life for his family. A family who could only speak Italian got off the boat after a long voyage.  John bought a house at 95 Alexander St. in Roxbury, but since he could not speak english, it was tough for him to find a job. The family decided on doing what they did best, living off the land for food and profit. The Gemelli's soon after moved out to Assanippe onto their very own farm. It was simple living and the Gemelli family loved it.  
           Personally I have no experiences with this piece of land, I've only seen what it looks like now. Once a farmland full of crops and livestock, now lies a used car dealership. My family often speaks of the land, how farm life has molded them into respectable US citizens. The American way of life is quest they sought out, even though my great-grandfather could not speak the American language, he lead a successful life.
       This piece of land was instrumental in a productive life. Farming was a very common job in the early 1900's that attracted many immigrants to our country. Great-Grandpa John was a farmer in Italy, and felt that the only way his family could survive in the new land was to farm. He spoke no english, but communicated in the universal language of agriculture. His earnings led to a good education for his children, english lessons, and just paved the way for future generations.
         Great-Grandpa John was very unselfish throughout his life, he would always give up his own necessities so his children could have more than what they needed. This land is why I am here at Catholic Memorial today, John could have easily accepted that he didn't speak english and traveled back to the old country, but he wanted a better life for his family. His unselfish qualities are still visible within my family, I have many aunts and uncles that would give up all they have so their children will have the best resources. I haven't had moments at this piece of land, but it has made a great impact in my life.


























     Have you ever imagined what it would be like to climb to the top of Mt. Everest? If you think that you can handle the tough conditions, harsh weather, and uneven terrain, well now you can now for the low price of $65,000.....Wait, what? When has risking your life become a thrill for today's business men? The only people who should attempt this great feat should be trained professional, or even at the least a daredevil. It is just a shame that one of the world's greatest achievements is now a tool for commercialism.
    Jon Krakauer is a great symbolist author, he also uses themes quite well. Into Thin Air is the first piece of American Literature that studies the commercialism of a world famous landmark. I never would have expected that such a dangerous place could be climbed by inexperienced climbers for a couple thousand dollars. If I had ever got the opportunity to climb Everest, I'd turn it down, I wouldn't think it over or anything. It's sad to know that the rich folk who do pay for this adventure, sometimes don't come back to their families.
    Symbolism and themes are also a great literary devices for this book. Arrogance was a good theme, many of the climbers were thinking that they could tame nature themselves. But we all learned from Thoreau that nature is not our friend, nature is our enemy. Another symbol was ropes and knots, this symbolized togetherness. The only way to top Everest is to work together, you have to be a team.
     The rising action, the climax, and the falling action were intense scenes in the book. Krakauer nicely described the climbing from Camp 4 to the Summit, this gave a nice thought of conquering the mountain. The climax of the story told of a violent whipping storm atop Everest, how climbers would go into the darkness and never be seen again. It was a sad description about how some of these poor people died up there. The falling action of the book included calm of the storm, and lowering down to the safety of the camp sites. This is also where the surviving members of the climb congregated, and congratulated each other for their efforts.
     Into Thin Air is a great book, it just shows the world that everything is becoming commercial nowadays. The people who receive the money from the rich business people don't realize that they are making money off the death of others. They don't take into consideration the person's physical or psychological condition. Someone who is humane should put an end to this business, its unfortunate that it started in the first place.































Boxing, the original poor man's sport. American's love violence, and boxing is the only sporting venue where it is praised upon whether or not you can physically mutilate your opponent with a barrage of haymakers and jabs. We love to watch grown men pour their blood, sweat, and tears into this sport, all for our viewing pleasure. After many matches, they drape themselves with the American flag, some even cry while they hear their national anthem play over the hushed crowd. Does this make boxing American? It is a crucial question and one that needs to be investigated.
         Boxing has evolved over time, from bare-knuckle brawling, to wrapping leather straps around your hands, and now padded gloves. Different styles resulted in different variations of boxing. Different styles of boxing are taught, whether to be aggressive or conservative with your match. In today's boxing, many boxers try to tire out their opponent by ducking and weaving, causing them to throw many punches. People get bored and they start heckling the match once this occurs, the audience wants action. John L. Sullivan, possibly the greatest bare-knuckle brawler who ever lived, he once lasted in a seventy-four round match with J. Kilrain. This wasn't your everyday boxing match, these men went after each other, no hesitation, seventy-four rounds of punches, resulting in broken bones, and increased glory. Literally, buckets of blood were lost on the canvas that afternoon in New Orleans. Sullivan was a National icon, and a local legend, a native of South Boston.  
         Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Roy Jones Jr, and Oscar de la Hoya, boxing is still predominately for the minorities of America. Latin, European, and African-Americans are the dominant forces in this sport. Jokes have been made about how white men can't compete with the heavyweights they have these days. They even made a movie about it, parodying the white boxer, "The Great White Hype."  Even though there are not many white competitors in this sport, the white community is the majority of the draw that boxing creates in today's world of entertainment. Many big businesses put a lot of money into sponsorships for these boxers, different promotions, and all kinds of endorsements. Boxers only compete maybe two times a year, but they are some of the wealthiest athletes around. They must train though, and train hard, if they don't stay in the shape they are in when they fight, they'll lose endorsements, and sometimes that means that they may fall in the rankings. A lot of fights are set up by who you know, and what your reputation is. In some rare cases, the actual number one contender may actually fight the World Champion, but don't count on seeing that all too often.  
       If you look through your family tree, I am more than sure that somewhere down the line you will find that a relative of yours had been a professional boxer. This was the original poor man's sport because it was often a fight between immigrants for the pleasure of rich Americans. I myself had a great-uncle who was a championship fighter, an Italian who was trying to make a living in America in the 1930's. He had to fight under and Irish name, at this time the Italian community were so disliked, that they weren't even allowed to beat up on each other. Most of these fighters were construction and mill workers by day, but were the prize fighters to watch in those days. These amateur boxers were the pride of their small towns and families, but many of them did not get the chance of being as famous as other mid-1900's fighters. They weren't highly publicized as some of the other fighters in big city markets such as New York. My great-uncle boxed not for the fame, not for the money, but for the glory and honor that came with it. Though he did not receive the respect and attention he deserved from the upper class, he enjoyed going back to his home and being heralded as a hero. At time he wrote in his journal about how boxing was one of the only things that kept him in this country, he couldn't hold a job because he didn't know English, he was ready to go back to Italy. Boxing was a drug, something he depended on, something he couldn't give up on. He suffered many concussions, bruises, and deep cuts, but he woke up everyday happier than the day before. He loved to give the American entertainment; he gave it all for this country, even when he was not accepted in the United States. That is why boxing is American.