Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America

















I came across this story when I came home and asked my grandfather whether or not he remembered the story of when his family came to America. He was sitting in his favorite chair and he told me to go and get the family tree which outlines to life of all our ancestors. He found the segment about his father and he read it allowed to me.

“He was born in England and grew up in a small city which he eventually grew to hate. At the age of twenty-eight he took sail to America where he and his future wife settled in Baltimore which he called Mary’s land after his wife. He stayed there for five years before once again moving, this time to Boston, where he bought a house on silver street and had two children.

He stayed in Boston for the remainder of his life where he was credited with laying down the cobble-stone streets which ended up being some of the main thorough fairs in the city. He enjoyed his life here in Boston and he never had the urge to return home.”

He was to move two more times, staying in Boston of course, and have four more children before my grandfather came into the story. If my great grandfather had not got sick of England and the famines which plagued his home, then chances are I would still be there. We all need to get up and leave sometimes, I guess it was just the right time to get out of England for him, but I guess it tought us that people can make it in a new place and nobody has to stay where they are.











During the summer I could sit on the beach at the Cape and watch the
water at sunset for hours and over the past few weeks I’ve done that in a
small place on bridge street in Dedham where the Charles river crosses the
road.  In the words of Emerson “I became a transparent eyeball.”  I bore
witness to many changes in nature there and I realized that this little bridge
over the Charles river is greatly under appreciated.  I saw a lot of things and I asked a lot of questions but in the end nature was still there changing as I have.

     As I stood above the river I couldn’t help but notice the receding
water line.  On the days that I was feeling bad, which were few and far
between, The water seemed to be much lower then it was when I was elated.  When I was in a good mood nature really seemed to be more light and more was happening, I saw animals and I saw leaves falling in an almost musical pattern.  If I had had a glum day it seemed to be in more of a gloomy state with trash on the bridge and in the water and the trees were not willing to rain down their leaves.

     The one thing that I really never saw in this place was other people.  I
did see one man fishing and a kid walking home from school but other then
that people really never interacted with the bridge over the river.  There are always cars passing over but nobody ever stops to look over and say “hey this is a pretty nice view.”  It makes me wonder, do people even appreciate nature at all anymore?  Or is nature just something that fully reveals itself to those who are really looking?  All I know is that nature revealed itself to me on this little bridge and I have been changed for the better because it.  In not the same I was before this, I realize how much nature is important in the world today and how much people seem to not care.

     The bridge over the Charles is a very independent place that is free
from contact with most of the world.  It is distinctively American for this.
We as Americans do not listen to the same things, we march to the beat of a different drummer and so does this place.  The river cares for itself, it didn’t need the men who cleaned it up to come it could have swept the trash away as we swept out the British in the revolution but it just waited and left the trash alone.  Maybe it was reflecting the neglect that we have placed on it. No matter what it was doing or reflecting this place was absolutely an
American one because it had its own character, it was started by itself and it maintains itself.

     To kind of some things up this bridge is an American place that has
no human contact but reflects our attitudes towards it.  After spending time
on this bridge I remembered the times I spent on Cape Cod and I realized
how much I enjoyed it.  I try to go out towards sunset now with my
girlfriend and just sit and watch.  There are no words its just a wonderful
site to behold and I’m happy I could share it with somebody else and I hope
that I wasn’t the only one who realized how beautiful and reflective nature
truly is.











Have you ever run into one of those people who just never gives up?
I mean everybody that I know would say that these are the type of people
that get somewhere in life.  But what if that person was a bus driver? and
what if one day he drove the bus farther than anyone ever should?

     In the town of Dedham there is a local bus service the runs
throughout  the town everyday.  It brings people to work, school, shopping,
and anywhere else they might need to go.  The driver is an absolute maniac
though and he drives that bus way to hard.  His name is Billy.

     There is this kid named john who takes the bus every day to school,
he has become accustomed to Billy’s driving habits but today John was
scared for his life.  It was a rainy morning and john had just got out of his
car and was making his way to the bus stop.  “Have a good day at school”
his mother says, “yeah sure, bye” he replies.  He waits there for about a
minuet when he sees Billy cruise around the corner at about 50.  It’s 25
M.P.H. zone and Billy starts hydroplaning.  He jams on the brakes and skids
to a halt just before he would have hit John.  Before he gets on the bus John
says to himself “I have a bad feeling about this one.”  Once on the bus he
says “good morning Billy, what’s up?” to which Billy replies “nothing at all
everything’s fine.”  He picks up a few regulars and then an old lady and
decides to blow a red light.  Immediately a cop hops on his tail but he says
“don’t worry everything’s fine.”  He speeds up and looses the cop.
Eventually the cop grabs him and gives him a 200 dollar ticket.  As he pulls
away he revs the engine and runs another light.  He says “what are the
chances of getting caught twice.”  He dropped of the old woman at Stop and
Shop and then flew up the highway.  He was probably doing about 90 when
he picked up “the fat guy”.  When he got on the bus leaned a little bit and
the engine sputtered but we eventually got going.  John heard a loud clank
but Billy said “Don’t worry about it the bus is just fine.”  While speeding
down high street “the fat guy” realized that Billy was asleep at the wheel.
He leapt with all his might out of the seat and screamed “Billy wake up.”
Billy’s head jolted and he spun the wheel just as we were about to hit a
telephone pole.  “The fat guy” asked “what happened Billy?”, Billy said “I
have no idea but we’re all fine now.”  John once again heard the clank but
this time he saw some smoke coming from under the hood.  Concerned for
his life he asked what it was.  Billy told him not to worry, cause the bus was
“fine”.  They were nearing the end of the route and had stopped to pick up
the last passenger when it happened, The bus gave a final sputter, and just
died right there in the middle of the road.  Smoke was bellowing from the
hood and a tidal wave of oil poured from under the bus.  Suddenly Billy
threw his cigarette into the ground and the oil caught fire.  The whole bus
went up and all john could say was “wow Billy, do you think the bus is
going to be fine this time?”













Edgar Allen Poe had a dismal life which he often transcended into his poems and stories.  The poem “The Raven” is a tale of a lost love and a paranoid man who misconstrues a raven to be his dead love Lenore.  The poem that Poe lays out for us is very intricate, with a near perfect rhyme scheme and a melodious beat which the reader easily falls into.  In this poem Poe takes love, turns it into terror, and personifies himself as the raven.

     Poe manifests his anger and hate into a fictional bird whose purpose is to drive the main character completely and utterly insane.  The character is driven to this brink by the
daunting and dreary thoughts of his resurrected love Lenore.  You can easily point out his madness in this quote from line 85 where he says, “Prophet!’ said I, ‘thing of evil! - prophet still, of bird or devil.”  This line is itself a line, the line between sane and psychotic.  The character crossed this line and began to speak to the bird as though it would bring him all his answers.  He begins to ask absurd questions of the bird even though he knows in his heart that not only will this bird torment him for the rest of his life but also that it will only prolong his misery and be an everlasting reminder of Lenore.
This line makes you think that maybe he is not grieving and that this bird was sent for another purpose.  The raven may have been sent to torment him for a wrong he did.
Perhaps he murdered Lenore and cannot bare what he did.

     Poe personifies himself as the raven in this story of love.  He lost his own loves and so this poem probably holds some kind of deeper meaning then what we see.  It is
almost like he is writing this to make himself feel better about all his loses but manages to torment himself further.  The famous line “nevermore”  is Poes’ little lifeline, it reassures
him that he does not have to grieve any more and that only evil will come from it.  It could be inferred that the raven not only drove the main character insane but Poe as well.

     Poe makes the loss of Lenore into something more for the character.  He confuses the reader as to what the real reason for this mans terror is.  Poe starts to show how
frightened this man is on line 16 by saying “Tis some visitor entreating.”  It shows that the character tried to mask his knowledge of what lay behind that door with a visitor.  The
reader begins to understand the terror of this poem when they read into it.  Poe almost makes this door into a great dilemma for the man.  Does he answer it and risk the
disappointment of someone other then Lenore being there?  Or does he leave it alone and from that moment on feel as though he missed that last chance to see the one he loved so

     Edgar Allen Poe was a strange man who had a life that most would consider to be a tragedy above all else.  His choice of words was cunning and it seemed as though he
could always fit everything into his scheme.  In this poem he tries to frighten people into letting lost loves go by making them think that if they don’t they could be tormented by a
raven for all eternity.  Poe twisted himself into the ravens form and used this poem to further his anguish.  He was not the type of person to feel good about anything and it
seems he almost enjoys his own torment.