Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America

















Arthur’s Story

It all started during the evening of last week. I just finished with my emulator and from watching TNN, and I knew I had an English assignment to write up. As I was walking down the stairs, I had seen my parents on the couch. ‘Do you know of the oldest story in our family’, I asked. So they told me… ‘About seventy years ago, during the Great Depression, my father’s uncle Arthur was around eight years old, so it had to of been around the year 1929.

One day in New York City, Arthur stole a pair of shoes from a store and was sent to jail. During his time in solitary, he got in even more trouble, which just added on the years. About twenty years later, upon his release, his younger sister told him to stay out of trouble, and so he did. Later in life, he established a window washing company, and washed many buildings in Las Vegas and he became a millionaire of sorts.

Arthur remained in California throughout the remainder of his life.’ Arthur went from rags to riches and he created the line of business that my father now runs. Arthur died five years ago in California and outlived many of his younger brothers and sisters, but we still remember him since he established the company my father now runs.














Dark and damp, where few dare to tread, lays the lane called “Deady’s”. To the side of my own home, looking abandoned and isolated, long forgotten. No car dares drives on its pavement, with its many cracks in its cold concrete and with its large potholes. As I spent two weeks there, changes were noticed. I seen how whenever it rained, its potholes overflow, and how its poor soil becomes muddy and slippery. As Thoreau said, “Things don’t change; we change”. So, as I changed in those two weeks, I saw, heard, felt, and smelt different.
    As the pouring, pelting rain dripped upon my hood while standing in the middle of the lane, I saw things so differently. Overflowing potholes and a whole new layer of mud formed. I seen a whole new portrait of darkness depicted thru the air surrounding the area. The cold chill in the air made it seem like there was something in the streets that night and that it didn’t feel the same way about me. Conflict arose between the area and I at that moment.
    Sunshine and warmth overpowered the lane. As I wondered over, hearing the chirping of birds and the scatter of squirrels, to my surprise the ground was dry and the coldness of the air turned into inviting warmness. Feeling happy as I was lavishing in the enticing air, it was as if the spot felt the same was about me, we were as one. The nature and I seemed to be in the same mood, as if we shared the same feelings and same attitude on things.
    During the two weeks that I interacted with the spot of nature, I changed, as did the spot itself. These changes of mine were shown in the perspective in how I seen the nature spot and the changes the spot was going through at the same time. It is an American spot, because it underwent changes from the first day I visited, all the way until the twelfth day. It was dark and light, sunny and rainy, foggy and clear, inviting and isolated, as America is. America changes its mood, as does the lane. That is why I feel the spot of nature is an “American” one.











Fred and Barney were two fitness fanatics determined to get into better shape. Fred and Barney's methods on training, dieting,and exercising were drastically different. Fred was naturally a bulky kind of guy with quite a muscular build to him. On the other hand, Barney was a short, scrawny guy who was a pacifist of sorts, yet both men were training for a fighting competition.
  Fred prepared by regularly visiting the gym and beating other combatants. Fred commented on all of this by saying, "Fred like smashing". He also enjoys eating junkfood whie watching football. Fred is the returning champion in this fighting competition.
  Barney prepared by watching Steven Sagal movies, eating bean curds, ad drinking potato juice. Barney also engages in yoga and six hours of meditation each day, after he wakes up in the morning. Barney had this to say, "I have the power of nine men, and I can chop trains, buses, and cars in half!". Fred then retorted by stating, "Fred no like Steven Sagal movies"
  Fred faced Barney in the first round. Barney used his attack of running away, while Fred chased after him shouting, "Fred like smashing". After finally catching Barney, he warned, "I will karate chop you into two!". Fred paying no attention knocked Barney out with a single blow, and it was over.












     A piece of poetry I have chosen to analyze is “A Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman. Whitman, who was born in New York, got involved in journalism and was editor of a newspaper in his early years. Whitman used free verse and did not incorporate a rhyme scheme and meter in his poems. His unique writing style makes him remembered forever. I like the feeling it brings to the reader; the language it uses, the many simplistic phrases, and the use of three or more adjectives in a row. The abundance of adjectives makes it a descriptive poem to get into and visualize with ease. I selected this particular poem because when read, a sense of imagery invades my mind.

     The poem uses actual imagery through word placement. Whitman says, “It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament out of itself.” The word “filament” is actually being launched from the beginning of the line. Whitman strategically placed the words to make an actual image in the poem, adding to the imagery. In another line, “I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated.” The words “stood isolated” actually stand isolated at the end of the line. I see it as an island that has been long abandoned, maybe because the eyes of the reader do not stand at that line for very long. The two words both end with the letter “D, which gives the reader a sense of strength and foundation in this line, which sits only, its can hold everything above it on its own.

     The poem uses punctuation only in vital points per stanza, to signify and separate two different thoughts and to keep the flow of the lines together for the reader. Whitman identifies an end of a thought with a period to give the reader a chance to stop and think about one thought before moving on to another. The white space after the period gives the reader a moment to clear your head and give your brain a rest before moving on to the next thought. Whitman, without pause, gives one thought at a non-stop pace. It lets one continuous flow into the mind as you read it until the period. The words can show the rapid train of thought Whitman had. It can make a reader think quickly, to try to create an instant interpretation of what you read in your own words. One interpretation with one sense of imagery at a time is how to read this poem.

     The poem creates a sense of what’s happening and how it’s happening by containing three or even four action verbs in a row. Lines such as, “Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them” present a vivid picture of action and feeling. The “ing” sound is present in that line; it makes your voice rise higher and higher, with increasing sound from the first “ing” word to the next “ing” word. It gives more power, feeling, and emotion to those four words. Images become more real when the words are more powerful, and these four adjectives give a powerful image.

     All of these elements are the steppingstones to what makes this a great poem to read. The word structure, descriptive usage of words, and the ever-present imagery in it gives the reader a real sense of what the poem is all about. The poem starts with “A noiseless patient spider” and ends with the descent of the spider itself.
















 It all started in England around the 1860s when several water sports became popular (“HickokSports”). It has now metamorphosed and migrated to America. Water polo is this sport, and it certainly is a sport. We, as Americans view this sport as a dark horse in terms of popularity. The event is not on syndicated or prime time television as are other popular sports, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t widely played here. Water polo is an American sport in the sense that both our roots came from England and both traveled to a different land to spread and grow.
     Sport is athletic game that can be cooperative, competitive, or both. It’s relaxing and fun for the people who play it and can prompt a challenge at times. Sport can challenge the mind, as well as the body. Water polo fits that definition of sport. Water polo emphases teamwork and skill at all times. It also adds the fun of playing against another team in friendly competition. Heather K. Smith states, “Much attention has been paid to the technical and strategic elements of the game”(American Swimming Magazine Vol. 1999/Issue 3). She is right, because you need to have great mind presence in the water to be able to compete. Water polo is known to be one of the most psychically demanding sports in the world and requires you to know your surroundings at all times in the water. Water polo has all the qualities of sport in my opinion.
     Water polo has been adopted and played by many Americans across our land. The sport resembled American football in the water and swiftly became popular. We crafted our own unique style of play different from the English and Scottish styles (H2O Polo 2). Water polo became so popular that it became the first team sport added to the Olympics. Later, we adopted the Scottish style because the American style was too brutal and rough for international play. The American public took hold of the new style much more than the old style (H2O Polo 3). The sport was completely “Americanized” at one point, but now it’s more adopted by Americans. Olympians Chris Duplanty and Mike Evans provide that, “for a well-tested and successful leadership, a gold-medal contending team needs defense and offense”(H2O Polo – Olympic Overview). America always participates in Water Polo for the Olympics. The sport has gone through dramatic changes over the years; from barbaric style of reckless play to a now tactical and strategic style of play adopted by many.
     The sport was amazing popular, but it has now lost much of it by today’s standards. The majority of Americans do not follow water polo at all and it does not have statistics in the local newspaper. This might be because Americans have lost interest in the sport. Americans want to see sports they play themselves or could play. They want to actually go and cheer and be entertained at a baseball or football game opposed to sitting in a pool area to the smell of chlorine. Water polo is lacking popularity in modern day America because our culture is changing. What was once popular isn’t today, nothing ever stays popular for too long or it just loses taste and gets drawn out quickly. Coach John Vargas, a member of the 1992 Olympic Water Polo Team, states, “Internationally, it’s considered a European sport, and they’re over there competing against each other daily... As for their style, we can’t afford to copy it because they are perfecting it constantly. They have a different style, and the different style is they attack in a slow and methodical way, and if you make a mistake, boom, they’re going to make you pay for it”  (qtd. In Questions and Answers with USA Water Polo). I do see his point about it being so easy for Europeans to set up games so easier than compared to the US. As of right now, the Europeans do dominate this sport.
     In conclusion, water polo is a sport of America, which was once the pinnacle of all popular sports. Its had its time in the public’s eye and today remains a dark horse in competitive sports as I stated earlier. Perhaps water polo will make a triumphant comeback into the eyes of Americans, or maybe not.