Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America






















"Coming to America"


During one day in school, I was a given an assignment to write about the oldest story of my family in America. As my parents were telling me the story in our kitchen, my aunt also contributed to the story because she also came to America twelve years later.

The oldest story of my family in America would have to be when my parents came to America for the first time from Russia, twenty-two years ago.

It was very hard for them to leave their home and lifestyle back in Russia, because that was the the lifestyle that they knew. My parents were the first of anyone in my family to come to America. Gradually after that, more of my family immigrated to America as well. My mother always says thay she is like Columbus because she opened the way to America for the rest of my family and friends.

My parents came here of course for a better life and to have more freedom. When they first arrived to America, they found it to be much more more different than Russia. When they first started out, it was extremely difficult for them because they didn't speak a word of English. Because of this, it was especially hard to get a job. What made it even more difficult was that at that time time my brother was born. Obviously coming to a new place, a new lifestyle, and having a new baby wasn't a walk in the park, it was a very intense sruggle. At that time for them it was hard to find a job and an appartment. They didn't get paid enough money because they didn't speak any English. They learned how to speak the language by interacting with other people at work.

My father started out working as a dishwasher and he also worked at a pizza shop called Halftime Pizza, which is located next to the Fleetcenter. On the otherhand, my mother had worked at a leather factory. She always told me how hard it was working there because the smell was so bad. She didn't have a choice, because no other jobs would hire someone who didn't speak any English.

Now my family is doing much better, and I wished I could have been around to help them. I would have to say that I am very lucky now because I didn't have to go through that, and I am very thankful for all the the great things my parents have done for me.












    Trees are a wonderful gift to us from nature.  They do so much for everyone, from people all the way down to animals.  Just by being here on the earth, they make the environment a much healthier and cleaner place to live.  What would we do without any trees at all?  We would be without wood, shade, and the birds and other animals that live in trees would also be without homes.  Don't forget about that pleasent breeze that trees provide us.  How many people actually go up to a tree and admire its beauty, not many.  Do you?  Ralph Waldo Emerson states, "When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank God I am alive."  Nature ia all around us and it is sometimes good to just stop what you are doing and take in all nature has to offer.

   Everyday for the past two weeks, I have been observing the tree in my yard.  It is one of the largest on my street, and it is over fifty years old.  This tree is without a doubt an American tree, because it had been planted here, on American soil.  During the time I spent there, I had noticed many changes.  I observed, smelled, touched, and heared the area that surrounded this tree.  When I first started my observation, the tree seemed full of life, by that I mean it was full with pretty leaves, but as the weeks went by the tree seemed less and less full of its ravashing glory.  The temperature during the weeks varied from cold to freezing.  You could tell by the smell of the area that winter was around the corner, and that fall had been winding down.  It had been just the perfect time to observe its changes, because the leaves were changing colors.  A quote from Emerson during his time in the woods stated this.  "Nature always wears the colors of the spirit."  Many people do not take the time and admire this tree because it is located in my yard, but it can be seen.  

   As the days went on, the ground around the tree seemed more and more vivrant with leaves, which ranged from different shapes and colors.  When every leaf on the tree had fallen, they were raked by my brother and I.  It is great and so strange how nature works sometimes.  For example, one day a tree is shimmering with its leaves, and the next it is naked and dull to look at.  "Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience," which is also by Emerson.  Today, we live in a fast paced society where everyday new forms of technology are brought to the world.  The world can be a scary place with intriguing new ideas and things.  So it is important to take the time and to just enjoy the simple things that nature's beauty has to offer.  "Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them, and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life," also by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Enjoy nature, because you never know when it will be gone forever.















     Walt Whitman’s poem, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” is an example of one who is taught about the astronomy of stars.  There are many actions that are preformed by the speaker, such as becoming rather tired and un-amazed with the whole presentation the astronomer was giving.  In the beginning, the attitudes of the speaker and astronomer differed about the stars because the astronomer had a certain fondness with the stars of nature from his own past experiences.  However, the speaker at first wasn’t at all inspired by the lecture.  In this poem, Whitman shows us, the reader, the different attitudes of the astronomer and speaker, and he manages to do so by getting each one’s point across in the poem.

     Whitman’s poem does an excellent job of capturing all the aspects surrounding each of the two characters.  For example, the speaker in this poem are shown facts and figures, the location of the stars on charts, and other forms, such as diagrams.  Many are fascinated with the presentation of the astronomer, but that one person out of many that is being lectured, doesn’t find it at all intriguing.  The speaker soon becomes tired some and the matter of the subject no longer seems relevant to him.  In this poem Whitman managed to capture a sense of meaning and feeling for the stars.

     Whitman shows the reader a consistent theme of differences each one has about the consolation of stars.  Not until the speaker leaves the lecture, the speaker then wonders off in the evening, and happens to see the night’s extravagant glimmering air.  In doing so, the speaker then seems to realize how special and unique it really was.  The speaker looked above and saw the stars shimmering and sparkling in the silent air.  “In the mystical moist night air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.”  Furthermore, with all the awe and excitement the speaker had been experiencing, he had learned to appreciate the stars more clear and vividly.  This poem deals with the image that one should take in all the surroundings of beauty that’s around them before its gone.

     It is clear in the poem that Whitman’s attitude toward the science of astronomy is rather strong because he views the stars as a sign of power, and upholding great dignity and value to nature.  Whitman’s attitude toward the astronomer is strong, but his attitudes for the stars are even greater, because he conveys a powerful feeling for them, which is clear when reading the poem.  After reading the poem many times, you then see how clever the title of this poem really is.  For example, during the night when the speaker wonders off and looks at the sky, he recollects to himself, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.”  The speaker then remembers the lecture, and how the astronomer described the greatness of the stars.  This is why we view Whitman as being one of the great poetry writers, due to his great ability and cleverness when writing.

     Whitman does an excellent job of portraying the speaker’s feelings towards the stars, in which the speaker then finds out how magnificent the stars of nature really are.  Whitman creates  a clever style on how to get the speaker more interested in astronomy by letting him or her realize it on their own.  Also, Whitman’s unique style of writing adds a meaning to the poem, due to his free verse style of writing.  Finally, I chose this poem by Walt Whitman because I found his style of writing in this poem tasteful and interesting.  This poem best represents Whitman, for the love and respect he has for his surroundings.  When reading this poem I could relate to how the speaker felt, once he or she saw the stars for the first time.


























  Said to have its origins around 490 B.C., track and field can be traced all the way back to the ancient Olympic Games in Greece, which began in 766 B.C.  Over the years, track and field events have ranged from a variety of sporting competitions that test an athlete’s strength, speed, agility, endurance, and coordination. Track can be defined as a course laid out for running or racing.  My definition of a sport would be defined as a form of recreation where one enjoys playing, and engaging in cardiovascular activity.  However, the definition of sports defined in the dictionary states: a particular form of pastime where one amuses oneself with some pleasant form of recreation; to play, frolic, etc.

     Track and field became a fan favorite all the way back to the first Olympic Games.  The popular events consisted of the hurdles, the long jump, the hundred-yard dash, the high jump, javelin, and the shot put.  Not only is this sport a favorite in other countries, but it is also a significant sport to the U.S.A.  For many years, Americans have tried hard to achieve victory.  Although team U.S.A. has won the gold before, we still strive for victory at every Olympics.  Events such as walking, running, and throwing were all competitive forms involved with track in the modern Olympics.  All this was essential for prehistoric man to move about from one place to another.
   A friend of mine, Joseph Basto, has participated in this sport for quite some time now.  I consider him an amateur of this sport because he enjoys running and the competition that the sport brings.  He’s a tenacious runner who loves to win and he has won before.  “If you put your mind to it and want it bad, you’ll get it” (Basto)  Another person whom I admire is Carl Lewis.  He’s a professional who has guided team U.S.A. to the gold.  Although he has recently retired from the sport professionally, he still runs.  Before a race, his thoughts are usually pretty simple.  He tells himself: “Get out of the blocks, run your race, and stay relaxed.  If you run your race, you’ll win… channel your energy. Focus.”  (Lewis)  I loved watching him compete and the effort he put into it.  I especially enjoyed watching him as he competed in such events as the long jump.  The first time I saw him compete in the long jump, he motivated me to start doing it also.

   Don O’ Conner, a critic of the sport from the Joplin Globe in Missouri, states that the sport should consist of fewer events.  He believes events such as the javelin, shot put, and discus should be removed because he feels they are irrelevant to the sport itself.  "Events like these are insignificant, and don't belong in the sport."  (O' Conner)

   This sport today seems to be getting bigger and bigger, and it dates back to the year 766 B.C.  It is good for the world that people today still take part in this pastime. Track is one my favorite pastimes because I love to run, and I don't ever see myself not participating in this sport in the future.