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Forward Throughout my senior year of high school, I have been able to improve in all aspects of my writing. I have worked on improving my writing to a college level. These essays I have completed have prepared and challenge me to take my writing to the next level. The essay are in chronological order; therefore, the writing get progressively better as the portfolio goes along. Early in the year a struggled with writing senior level papers. I left the papers very dull and boring. I struggled with things such as topic sentences in each paragraph that would have made my paper more fluent. Although, I struggled in some areas, I was successful at following my thesis and keeping my paper organized. This helped make up for my lack of complex sentences and over use of linking verbs. As the year went on I began becoming more creative in my writing. The writers workshop of Chaucer helped me to begin thinking outside of the norm. In addition to becoming more creative I also enhanced my vocabulary. Instead of using basic words, I tried to expand my vocabulary. The Thesaurus helped me changing words to allow my papers to becoming senior level papers. These two changes helped out my writing content. With these changes, my papers started becoming more unique and interesting. As the year has been coming to a close, we began writing college types of essays. Our topics of writing changed drastically from creative stories to essay of actual literature. This is where I struggled the most through the year, but also where I was most improved. I had a hard time taking what I read, and proving, comparing, or analyzing a specific subject. I was good at using direct quotes, but I had a problem with explain the quote without saying the same thing over again. My final paper of Literary Analysis, I


actually saw that I could really analyze a story using historical information. By far this area of writing was my weakest, but I have greatly improved. Now as the year is coming to an end, this portfolio is an excellent way to look at my writings through this year. Early on in the school year, I was nervous about writing a college level paper. Now I am confident that my writing level has increased drastically to the college level. It took time, practice, and hard work to fix my problems. Although my writing can still be improved I have excited and anxious for my first college paper.


Table of Contents Pg. 1-2 – College Essay “Success Through Determination” Pg. 3 – Chaucer Character Essay “Engineer-Builder Tale” Pg. 4-5 – Beowolf Compare and Contrast “Different Views of Grendel Pg. 6-7 – Diary Project “From A Youth’s Eye” Pg. 8-9 – A Modest Proposal “FOR PREVENTING THE HIDEOUS WOMEN FROM BEING INTERMINGLED INTO DAILY LIFE, AND FOR MAKING THEM ATTRACTIVE FOR A MAN’S EYE…” Pg. 10-11 – Frankenstein Essay “Frankenstein” Pg. 12 – Prose Piece – “Lady of Shallot” “The Lady of Shallot” Pg. 13-14 – Literary Analysis – Victorian Piece “The Lady of Shallot’s Image”


Success Through Determination Throughout my life, I have been put to the test both mentally and physically. I juggle a schedule of school, sports, a part time job, and just being a normal kid. It takes hard work to make it through the day, let alone to succeed at a high level. I am very proud of all of my accomplishments throughout my four years of high school. I have proven myself to be hard working in the three sports that I participate in, the classroom, and giving my time to the community. To most people, being a one or two sport athlete in high school can be extremely tough on both the body and mind. I do not just play two sports; instead, I manage a schedule filled with three sports: I play football, basketball, and track. Throughout my athletic career, I was able to achieve nine varsity letters within my four years. I am a four-year letter winner in track and field. Also during track and field, I have reached the Indoor State Championship in three events; and in the IHSSA tournament, I have made it to the regional level twice. I have been selected captain three times, including captain of the varsity football team my senior year. I take pride in being a team player and a leader in all three sports. When I am in a particular season, I put all my attention towards making the most of what I have been given and trying to accomplish my individual goals. My hard work and dedication has also carried over into my grades in school. Even though I am shuffling a sports-packed schedule, I know that academics are far more important than how many points I score in a game. Throughout my four years, I have been able to maintain a cumulative grade point average over 3.8 and received a 4.0 for my entire junior year. I have been on the Honor Role all four years. Finally, I am a part


of the German Club for the past three years. I was also elected Vice President of the German Club at Roncalli. Even though my schedule is packed with school and extra-curricular activities, I still find time to volunteer for the community. Over my four years of high school, I have given over 100 hours of community service. I have volunteered at Roncalli High School, Nativity Catholic School, and The Lord’s Pantry. Usually, my service is sports related, but sometimes I have an opportunity to help give food out to the less fortunate. Service is something that is very important to me and I will continue doing throughout my life. High school is said to be the greatest four years of a person’s life, but I believe they are only as good as what one puts into them. When I look back on my high school career in sports, school, and service, I am very proud of what I have accomplished. Hard work and determination is what gets me through my filled life and what helps me to succeed.


Engineer-Builder Tale As I work furiously on my road in my town too small for anyone to know about, I think about my life. My life is simple, but challenging. My small town runs on what I can build and how I build it. Although it may be a small town, my own blood, sweat, and tears from my job have created it. No one in the town knows my name, but they know my work. What I do for a living is what keeps the king happy and men moving. I am small but my work is big for one man. One day I was working on another road that went through town. I took a break for lunch and sat on the roadside. Off in the distance I saw a crowd of people moving near. It was not a mob or army. I sat there wondering who they were and what they were doing. Finally, they came by me as I sat there. I asked a man where he was going. “We are going to Canterbury, of course. Where else would a group like this be going?� I had never heard of such a place but I wondered why so many people would gather just to go to this place called Canterbury. Moments passed by as I sat there on the new street in town wondering... There were so many; they came from everywhere and they were going to one place. It was not like me to just get up and go like this, but I did it anyways. I knew nothing about the crowd or where they were going. I wanted to know where exactly this place was and why they were going. In that one moment, I left everything behind- the new road, my lunch, and the rest of my normal life. I left on an adventure to somewhere I did not know anything about. All I knew was the name of the place- Canterbury. I rushed up to the crowd and began my trip to this unknown place. I knew nothing but I wondered about everything.


Different Views of Grendel Throughout the history of the world, certain creatures are viewed differently from one person to another. The monster in the world famous story, Beowulf, is usually only viewed from one point of view- the people. Usually, no one sees the other point of view about Grendel. John Gardner tells the story from Grendel’s side. This gives an interesting comparison between the tales told by the Anglo-Saxons about him. The classic Beowulf tells about an evil Grendel that kills because of jealousy, while Gardner tells about a more human-like creature that has reason and logic. The epic story of Beowulf tells about a creature that is hunting Hrothgar, who is a king in the Anglo-Saxon Period. The creature is of the name Grendel and is supposedly Cain’s son. He was a creature of killing and evil. The jealousy of the Anglo-Saxons built up so much in his heart and mind that he attacked. One night he was said to “snatch up thirty men, smashed them in their beds, and ran out with their bodies” (ll. 37-38). In Beowulf, Grendel was born from evil, and took evil with him wherever he went. He was also said to be smart and fast with both his mind and attack. His “thoughts were as quick as his greed or his claws” (ll. 36-37). He attacked faster than any man could react and he was smart about how he did his deeds. Grendel attacked at night scaring the AngloSaxons to flee from his lands that he hunted. He was “blood thirsty and horrible” to those staying in Herot (ll. 80). Grendel could not be stopped by anyone until he met the wrath of God through Beowulf. Grendel was nothing but a monster that struck fear into the thoughts and sights of the Anglo-Saxons. The other point of view comes from a completely different tale of Grendel. This other epic tale is told through the eyes of Grendel himself. This allows the reader to get a


different understanding from what the Anglo-Saxons were running away. In Gardner’s story, he shows that Grendel is also a very intelligent creature because he is able to tell his own story. Gardner’s piece of literature tells about a very curious creature. At night, Grendel would watch the groups of men outside that would simply kill the other just because they could. One night Grendel realized that “the dragon had put a charm on me: no weapon could cut me” (Gardner 75). This plays a very important contrast between Beowulf and Gardner’s story. Grendel understands that nothing could stop him; therefore, he becomes curious. The only reason he attacks Herot and Anglo-Saxons is because he is curious about what he could and could not do. His “heart became darker,” since he was attacking the Anglo-Saxons. The more he would attack them, the more he enjoyed it, and the more he began to hate the people. Grendel was not at all mad or jealous of what he had or did not have; he was just a thought filled creature that wondered about his limits. This shows that he has human characteristics, because he wonders and thinks just as humans do. Although the two aspects are different, Gardner’s tale also tells about how Grendel loved to attack. Gardner says, “[he] burst in when they were all asleep, snatched seven from their beds, and slit them open and devoured them on the spot” (Gardner 79). This shows that Grendel still killed without care for the life of humans. When looking at certain creatures throughout history, especially during the early times of literature, it is important to look at both sides to see the real version of the creature. Gardner and Beowulf tell tales about a world famous Grendel creature that puts fear into the people. There are some similarities between the two writings yet each has their own little twists on the character. Through the Anglo-Saxons’ eyes the reader sees a


creature of intelligence and evil. In the Gardner prospective, Grendel is portrayed as a creature of curiosity and wonder of his powers. The story about Grendel will go on until the end of time, but it is up to the reader to decide which tale in truer about the creature, Grendel.


From A Youth’s Eye Sun rays beamed through my window as it was time to get up for just another day of fifth grade. My alarm clock read 8:00 AM, Tuesday September 11, 2001. I woke to a cloudless sky, glistening with the sun that appeared over the horizon. I proceeded through my regular routine and prepared myself for a school day. My mother drove me and my brother to Nativity Catholic School. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except for the pretty silent car ride which was especially lacking the radio. Yet, I could have cared less because we were going to play dodge ball in Physical Education during second period. Thoughts of who I wanted to be prevailed in my mind over any worries of why the car was quiet. Upon arriving to school, the three of us departed: my mom to the computer room where she taught, Nick to the eighth grade, and myself down to the fifth grade. I had about 10 minutes before the bell rang at 9:00 AM to get some leftover homework done that I failed to do the previous night. When I walked through my door, I was awestruck at the sight of my classroom. My teacher was huddled over the radio with tears rolling down her checks, and little was being said by any of the kids. Seconds after entering the room, my mother tapped on the door and motioned for me to come to the computer lab. I made the journey down the hall into the lab. My mother proceeded to inform me of the morning’s tragic events. I learned why the car ride was so silent: neither my mom nor bother wanted me to suffer an anxiety attack from what was unfolding in America that day. My father was suppose to be flying that morning from Sarasota, Florida and they feared that once I knew of the terrorists attacks a panic attack may overcome me. Moments later I left my mother with a hug and kiss and went back to my


classroom. By that time chairs were around the radio in the corner and my classmates sat in the seat listening. I sat very close to the radio, and listened intently to the live broadcast‌


A Modest Proposal… FOR PREVENTING THE HIDEOUS WOMEN FROM BEING INTERMINGLED INTO DAILY LIFE, AND FOR MAKING THEM ATTRACTIVE FOR A MAN’S EYE… Since the beginning of time, repulsive women have roamed the face of this beautiful earth. These women care not about their outer appearance, instead by their so called “inner beauty” and how God sees them. They try to impress with their thoughts, words, and action, but no man really cares about this. Women need to improve their actual appearance that means something to men: body, face, and attire. Yet each day these women awaken to devastate the wonderful world God has created with their cursed appearance. I think it is agreed upon by all men and the gorgeous women of the world that there must be something done with these women who destroy God’s beauty of life. These dreadful women bring disgust to men’s thoughts and terror to their eyes. A woman was created for the simple task of giving pleasure to a man’s sight. False thoughts run across the minds of women that they were created as equal or to actually achieve with their life. These thoughts give only false hope to women that they mean more than what they see in the mirror. While most women are pleasant to man’s sight, there are not just enough women to delight every man. My intention is never to destroy these women just because they have been faulted for one reason or another. The idea is the simply help these women achieve real beauty. Determination of these foul women only leads to a mess and more work; instead, the idea is just simply force them to be attractive. Luckily, for these unfortunate women there is an operation that can be done to help even the women who are repulsive. Plastic surgery


can and will be the answer for allowing them to become the most gorgeous women. Until this proposal, plastic surgery was only an option for the ugly. This procedure has been growing rapidly in popularity in teens because no one desire to be scum of the earth. With this in mind, the proposal would state that when a girl is 15 years and one day old they will confront a panel of judges. The panel will consist of the top plastic surgeons in the area, a professional athlete, a 21 year old, an 18 year-old, and a 16 yearold. All of the panelists will be males, of course, and will be selected similar to jury duty selection. The panel will decide on whether or not that particular girl is pretty enough to be allowed to continue into society. If the panel confirms that she is not, the plastic surgeons will immediately meet to discuss the future plans. By the end of the meeting, a date will be set in which the surgery will take place to fix the poor girl. Of course the question always arises about paying for all this cosmetic surgery. The answer is simple and clear. The government can hurt because of ugly women; therefore, the government must help finance the surgeries. The price can range from a few thousand dollars to excess of $20,000. The price depends mainly on the condition the girl is in before the surgery. More teens want plastic surgery, and this will allow a so called “two birds with one stone.� Not only will these allow teen girl to afford the surgery, but also the world will get rid of the hideous women. After a successful surgery and rehabilitation, the world will be blessed by another butterfly that has transformed from an ugly caterpillar. Rehabilitation will consist of classes to show these newly transformed girls how to act and be gorgeous. Classes will range from wardrobe selection to how to act in front of men. They will be taught what


will make them look the very best. This will truly allow women to improve their beauty for a man’s satisfaction. This is a simple proposal to enhance the world’s beauty and men’s lives. No woman needs to be cursed with ugliness, and no one deserves to look at someone repulsive. This will allow the scum of earth to turn into a Miss America or some man’s amazing wife. Frankenstein Throughout Mary Shelly’s novel, Frankenstein, bloodshed occurs because of the creature Victor Frankenstein has created. The creature walks the green hills of Europe killing in rage members of Victor’s family. While it may have been the creature himself actually strangling his victims, Victor believes it is his fault for the deaths of his family members. The creature sees that he should get a companion because it will allow him to stop the murdering. Victor spent two years creating this one creature. After being successfully completed, the creature became alive as his one species. He was a hideous creature, and not even his creator could look at him. Filled with true human feelings, the creature became lonely. The creature saw a man being happy with a mate; therefore, he though he should have one. The creature says to Victor, “the love of another will destroy the cause of my crimes” (106). He wants Victor to see that the crimes were caused only because of his lack of love. The creature tells Victor that his rage will go away if he can have love. After hearing more promises from the creature, he agreed to creating a loved one for the creature. He said to the creature, “[you must] quit Europe forever, and every other place in the neighborhood of man” (107). Victor wanted to ensure that the creature


would be gone forever. Victor was very hesitant of creating a companion at first. The reason Victor gives it is not because of this promise; instead, by the remark “that the justice due both to him and my fellow creature…that I should comply with his request” (106-107). He believed he owed the creature a soul mate since he created the ugly thing. After spending time creating the companion for the creature in his laboratory, he decided to destroy it. One night he was working on the mate and became enraged at the sight of the creature. He was “trembling with passion, and tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged” (121). The creature appeared while Victor creating it; therefore, Victor remembered the wickedness of him and destroyed his new creation. The creature watched as Victor broke their promise and his only chance of love. This was not the only reason for Victor destroying the monster. He spent two years working on it, which allowed Victor to think a lot about what he was doing. Many different ideas popped into his head about the creature. He thought even if they left man, “a race of devils [could] be propagated upon the earth” (121). Now Victor was only responsible for the only creature, but a female creature could lead to an entire race. Also, Victor thinks that “she might quit him, and he be again alone” (121). Victor could not force the female to love his first creature. If she did not love him, than there would be two lonely creatures to cause destruction. In the end, Victor chooses to destroy the female creature. Even though he broke a promise, he might have saved the wicked race from entering the world. The creature was enraged in the sight of the destruction of his love. This killing lead to the killing of Elizabeth. While the killing continued for Victor’s family, he prevented two or more creatures from killing more humans.


The Lady of Shalott Part I The river that the island of Shalott is on, cuts through fields of barely and rye. The road runs nearby and trails beside the river to Camelot. Four gray walls and four gray towers that make up Camelot overlook an area of flowers. On the island of Shalott lives a woman who is not well known. Only the reapers hear her early in the morning when they are working in the fields. Since they cannot see her they believe she is a fairy. Part II The Lady of Shalott weaves a magical web all night and day. She will go under a curse if she looks at Camelot, but she does not really know what the curse is nor does she care. To see the world, the Lady looks through a mirror to find images of shadows of the world. The shadows appear to her as the girls and knights going to Camelot. She becomes sick and lonely watching the shadows of life and a wedding. Part III A knight shoots an arrow that catches the Lady’s eye and his name is Sir Lancelot. He is a knight of great respect for women even before a battle. As he rides down to Camelot his armor and bells create music. He was full of light, with his coal-black curls, as he rode. He sang “Tirra Lira” as he rode by the river. The Lady of Shalott saw his beauty through the mirror and looked at Camelot to see the knight. As she did this she cried, “The curse is upon me.”


Part IV Now it is autumn, and The Lady of Shalott writes her name across a boat. She looks at Camelot and knows that she will be cursed. She takes the boat down the river towards Camelot and sings her last song. She died a cold dark death as she sang her song. Her body floats into Camelot and those at the castle see her for the first time. They ask questions about the body. Then Sir Lancelot hopes that God has mercy on her body.


The Lady of Shalott’s Image Literature is an opportunity for a reader to become surrounded by history. It can act as a time machine allowing a person to see what life was like during a certain time period. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, “The Lady of Shalott” sends readers back to the Victorian time period to see what life was like for women. Tennyson shows the dark and separated life that women lived during the Victorian Age. During this time women were confined to the walls that made up their building. They were to live a dull life consisting only of the duties of their house chores. We see this image when Tennyson describes the tower that the lady is in as “four gray walls, and four gray towers” (l. 15). This shows how simple a woman’s surroundings were to be. They were not to live a luxurious life filled with colors and charm, but instead to care only for the home. In the poem the lady is also belittled by Tennyson. He does not use direct words to destroy the image of women; instead, he builds up the surroundings around her. The description of the Lady is only by her “womanly tasks” (Nelson). One description consists of her weaving while thinking of the curse that is upon her. Tennyson does not describe the woman; instead, he describes what she is doing. During the Victorian Period the women where only described by what they did around the house. In addition to not describing her, there is a lack of her talking in the poem. This is another technique that Tennyson used to demean women. Throughout the entire poem she only speaks twice. Once she says, “I am half sick of shadows” (l. 72). When the lady does speak she is displaying her loneliness in the home and her lack for love. This just shows the lack of respect women were getting. Not only were they used only for the


home, but “Tennyson makes [them] a passive figure” in society (“Pre-Raphaelite Attitudes”). Their words and actions are not seen as important to the world that is outside of their home. The value of a women’s life was only as good as the manner which they carried out their duties. A women lacking in her duty would simple be seen as worthless and punished for her faults. It was a simple equation, “the neglect of her duty leads to [her} demise” (“Pre-Raphaelite Attitude”). Tennyson depicts this idea in the death of the Lady of Shalott. She is told that she must never look down at Camelot, because of a curse that is upon her. When she finally gains enough courage to look and leave the castle, she simply dies. Tennyson is showing that a woman might as well be dead if she is not going to follow your duty. The final image shown in the poem is the women’s desire for more than what they had. Women, of course, did not just want to be slaves in the home. Instead there was an internal conflict to just do their duties or go out and live life. The Lady of Shalott represented the conflict between women’s “private desires and the reality of their social responsibilities” (“Pre-Raphaelite Attitudes”). The lady knew of a curse on her that would come upon her if she was to try and live life, but her desire for love and life trumped her worry of the curse. This was her downfall in the story. If a woman was to go against what was seen as acceptable to society then she would be punished. Tennyson uses the Lady of Shalott to represent a woman going against society. Through some simple lines on a paper, history of a time period can be revealed. Tennyson sends a reader back into the medieval time period. Today’s society has changed drastically since then, but “The Lady of Shalott” allows us to see what the role


of women was like and how far it has changed. Without literature such as this, no one can look back at what life was life before now and see what was wrong versus what is just.

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