Honoring Diversity

Buhlebenkosi Masilela

Indiana University of Pennsylvania




Abstract: In this article the author would be expressing her experiences in the literature class in relation to the principles she had grasped. By using three approaches to organize the paper and beginning with innocence, chaos and resolution. The author utilizes her literature books to mediate the relationship between her emotions and experiences in the classroom.


Keywords: Auto ethnography, innocence, chaos and resolution.










I have always wondered how difficult it would be to study abroad and still be able to accomplish a goal. My goal is to obtain an accounting degree and be able to pass my literature class, now that I am in the middle of the semester I have grown to be able to manage the workload. Campbell (1991) in the same way expressed his thoughts by mentioning

‘A person takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life giving elixir.’ (p.152)

I choose this quote because this literature class is a journey that I have never encountered with different teaching skills from an enthusiastic professor. This includes the use of movies, novels, group discussions and blog use. Yet it’s a requirement for my major, making it mandatory to take it.

In the beginning of the semester I had the choice to stay in the class or simply take it the following semester. I chose to stay because it’s an essential necessity and a challenge gives me a reason to hold on.

 I want to be able to connect my emotions and experiences in the classroom with the knowledge I have obtained. Whilst examining my writing from the blog with the changes I have managed to incorporate to daily life so as to determine my level of understanding the underlying concepts in literature. The shadow side of this class is transiting from a current topic to the next because a lot of reading is required and if that reading is not done then the next linking topic will be confusing. In addition, to sticking to the time period of when an assignment will be due; as I found myself under a lot of pressure to understand what was being taught, to applying it to poetry writing. I organized my work into innocence, initiation, chaos and resolution. I choose innocence because when I scheduled for this class I thought it was going to be easy but I was proven wrong. Chaos describes how high the anxiety levels were as the new texts become difficult. Resolution portrays how I managed to stick to my path and strategize ways to cope with the demand. Finally I have to come to conclude that auto ethnography is the best way to tell my experiences, lessons and how I managed to deal with them.


In one of my first poems titled blank verse, I wrote

 ‘I appear Willingly, I proceed with Scarcity’

I find my self in the archetype innocent; I fear being abandoned and being left behind by my fellow students who have managed to grasp how to navigate through web press. Which I found intimidating because everything is new and wanting to assimilate I accept the challenge and the journey I am about to begin. Contemplating the same thoughts as Robert Frost,

‘What would happen if I had chosen another path?’ (p.41)

I felt like why didn’t I act like an orphan by the challenge and wait for another section but my conscious told me be a warrior and conquer this. Either way it would catch up with me, as running away is an irrational choice to the achieving of my degree. According to Campbell (1991)

‘The planting mythology, which has to do with the cultivation of the plant, the planting of the seed, so as to say, and the coming of the new plant, is more inward.’(p.126)

Made me realize individualism is the key to sacrifice and my supernatural aid to dreams made me realize I had to step up. I expressed emphasis of my aid in blog number 6

‘In the beginning of the semester I had the same dream three times in a row. I would dream running out of breathe and then wake up out of breathe; the second was my past had caught up with me and it was chaotic. The last one was the combination of the two and from what I noticed was I’m terrible with time management to the extent its stresses me out. Now that’s what I’m experiencing but I’m trying a new approach to work it out. So far I am getting the hang of it, therefore my dream was warning me of the tough semester ahead and working with what I can’.

            Yet there could have been another simple explanation that would be high anxiety levels from overwhelming work load. Campbell (1991) also supports this idea when he stated that

‘There are two orders of a dream, the personal dream and the archetypal dream, or the dream of mythic dimension. You can interpret a personal dream by association, figuring out what it is talking about in your life, or in relation to your own personal problem. But even now and then a dream comes up that is pure myth that carries a mythic theme.’

Consequently my current dominant archetype is the seeker. According to Pearson (1991)

‘My fear is being entrapped’ (p. 123)

 But I managed to over come it by studying hard when I was able to answer blog entry #7. It spoke about limen and its application to water ship down

‘In watership down a severe anxiety had filled the rabbits after leaving their birth warren and beginning a new journey to a safer land. After running a long distance from their chief rabbit’s guards they decided to rest in a fern meanwhile dandelion told a story and when it was finished they saw a lendri who was druling at them. Since they were not aware of its danger the rabbits ran whilst being lead by bigwig through the fern and came to a stream. When they had noticed that the lendri wasnt on their tail anymore they stood by the bank to regain some direction.’


Blog entry #8 expresses my moment in the belly of the whale shown by the poem, Line messaging;

‘I lower my tone

Hoping you would follow

Nothing sticks, instead you pace up’ 

This poem illustrates how my participation in the classroom room decreased because I couldn’t keep up with the reading therefore feeling frustrated. Making it hard for me to make more accurate connections back to Odyssey, Watership Down and at least to other literary work. Moreover, these were my books I was supposed to use as a tool to enhance my understanding of the literature concept. During this time, the reading requirements increased but I could not keep up.

On my road of trials I was tempted to drop the class but the encouragement and enthusiasm of my professor and classmates inspired me to work harder. They told me (blog entry 11)

            ‘To dance, to a better tune

But my feet stumble’

As I struggled to resist the urge of dropping the class, my conscious told me to be patient and put more effort.

Starting of by watching ‘Into the woods’ in the fifth week of the class I realized that

‘The woods is a focal point in life which people may need assistance from each other to answer their call and complete a journey. Different archtypes are discovered in the process of the journey which we never knew we had because of the circumstances. For example the prince is expected to be a warrior who defends his kingdom but he actually uses the lover archetype to manoeuvor and deceives people. Instead, he uses the innocent archtype because he follows the principles governed by the king therefore afraid to move away from this comfort zone. Unlike, Odysseus in the Odyssey who manages to use his wisodm to run away from the giant in the cave by tricking him into believing his one of the animals the giant owns.’ (Quiz)


Campbell (1991) states that that

            ‘You learn to recognize the positive values in what appear to be the negative moments and aspects of your life.’ (p.206)

Illustrating that experience is the best teacher and that so far in class after being patient, working diligently and trying to balance time. The work load becomes easier and doesn’t take much time once you collect yourself. For the past few weeks I could relate to Siddhartha when Hessen. (1951), says

            ‘For a long time Siddhartha had lived the life of the world without belonging to it. His senses, which he had deadened during his ardent Samana years, were again awakened.’(p.75)

This is similar to the mixed emotions I experienced in this class because at times I found the materials easy to undestand and at times confusing. To liberate myself from all this confusion I resorted to discussing the various texts with my group members to obtain a better understanding of them.  Therefore in their own uderstanding, I was enlightened on the requirements. The poem I can use to summarize the lessons learnt from Marlen taken from Dunbar (1872-1906) titled the lesson

            ‘But e’en as I listened the mocking –bird’s song,

A thought stole into my saddened heart,

And I said. “I can cheer up some other soul

By a carol’s simple art” (p.42)

I chose this poem to illustrate that when you listen attentively your able to reflect and connect it to your experiences. No matter, how threatening the journey may appear its worth taking it. As I feel happy to have answered to the quest of taking this class and deciding to study abroad. In which I have learnt to view life from a different perspective for example never judge a book by its cover and every sentiment opens new doors.


In the beginning of the semester most of the the workload was intimidating and the blog was not user friendly. I then decided to reach out to my group members, while studying and participating in class helped me improve academically and socially. Most of all understanding the concepts of literature made me overcome anxiety due to change of environment. Auto ethnography helped me to reflect to the first half of the semester and show how much I have grown as an individual.  














Campbell, J.(1991) The power of myth with Bill Moyers, Anchor books.New York

Hesse,H. (1951), Siddhartha, New Directions Publishing Corporation,  New York

Pearson, C. (1991) Awakening the heroes within, Harper Collins, New york

The american Poetry and literacy Project.(1998) 101 Great American Poems, Dover           Publication, Meniola,New York


marlen says:

Wow!!!! Fantastic job, Buhle!!! I’m sooooo proud of you!

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