Thursday, 8 July 2010


Graduations are always rather like weddings: everyone is cheery and pleased to be there, the dress code is archaic, and there is a set format that hasn't really altered for hundreds of years. To add to this feeling the ceremony at my university campus takes place at the Crichton Memorial Church which, according to the chap who sat next to me, was modelled on Hereford Cathedral.

The day goes thus: everyone congregates at the university's main building

before processing to the church

where we get called up one by one to be doffed on the head by the Principal,

have hoods whose colours symbolize our qualification placed over our shoulders,

and given one of these.

After the ceremony we are led back to the university by a piper (Stevie was lagging so didn't get a photo!) and arranged for a group photograph (current rector of the University of Glasgow is Charles Kennedy, seen here looking considerably less grumpy than he did during the ceremony),

after which we can resume normal activity.


Now I must read up on symbolism in the novel as I have to give a lecture on it (and ambiguity, which I'm more comfortable with) to access course students next week. Any of you got any brilliant examples, definitions or simple explanations that would enable me to keep some of my hair?


savannah said...

I am honored to be the first in blogville to wish you Congratulations on receiving your Mastersand for looking so goddamn elegant whilst doing so! Well done, sugarpie! xoxoxoxo

Scarlet Blue said...

2nd with the congrats!!!!
And you look fab whatever you do with your hair!

Alesa Warcan said...

The cowl-look is hard to pull off, but you managed it just fine... It must be the grin. ; j
Congrats on your graduation!
Sounds like it went off without a hitch!
Hmm.. Had to look up what an access course is.

How's this for a super simple 3 step explanation... with a 4th for elbow room.

1)Symbolism in novels=> Use of symbols in novel.
2)What are symbols?
They are things that, in addition to their own nature/concept convey that of other things.
3)ex:The road in beat literature is more than dirt and tarmac, it's the experience of life. +justification of ex.
4)Expand with the purpose of symbolism in novels, the way it is context and cultural environment dependent. The assets and drawbacks... Blabla. : /
I find that the key thing in explaining something conceptual is to start with the basics... defining the terms... Going over them quickly if need be, or longer depending on the crowd... And then expanding.

To expand, you could draft a list of the things you think are important to say and know about symbolism in novels, once you have the list of the things you want to say, you can work from the basics to your messages.
I can't imagine that was any help.
But I'll bet it'll be fun to go on at length on the subject. enjoy! ; j

Wigeon said...

You look stunning Eryl! Many congrats on such a lovely day being celebrated with the traditional pomp. So that's it we're both 'certified with extinction!' Yes, I like the idea of a lovely annual meal for the infamous five writing MLitters of GU Dfs. Let's hope Titus can join from the 'big school up the road' when she's done. x

Rachel Fox said...

I seem to remember DH Lawrence was dripping with the stuff (symbolism that is). Never liked it much...

Kim Ayres said...

Woohoo! superb! Hearty congratulations, Eryl!

And Evil Galactic Empress look is so you, dahling :)

Eryl Shields said...

Savannah ~ and I am honoured that you should want to congratulate me, and in such a lovely way, thank you, XXXXX

Scarlet ~ thank you! I finally seem to have a haircut that requires no faffing, X

Alesa ~ the only minor hitch was that, not being used to wearing heels any longer, my feet were killing me by the end of all that processing. Luckily I had thought to take a pair of flip flops with me, I don't think I'd have made it to the car otherwise.

Thank you for the Symbolism stuff. I will literally have to start with 'letters are symbols for the sounds we make...' and move on from there. The novel I'm using is The Ballad of Peckham Rye which is full of juicy example, I just need to get my thoughts straight, and you have helped a lot!

Wigeon ~ you are so kind! We'll have to organise ourselves for an inaugural bash.

Rachel ~ I suppose it's a way of saying something controversial without risking the wrath of the censors, though Lawrence didn't quite manage that! I like a bit of ambiguity so I quite enjoy symbolism in the arts.

Kim ~ all I need now is a galaxy to tyrannize!

A Cuban In London said...

Congratulations. But hey, did graduation turn you into a hoodie? :-)

Greetings from London.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Congratulations Eryl. When I read that you are to lecture on symbolism in the novel my heart soars as I realise that I am retired from lecturing and need never formulate a theory again. Hope it goes well.

angryparsnip said...

Congratulations !
You looked so elegant and I agree with Kim about the Galactic Empress. I think I hear there is/was cake ?

cheers, parsnip

Lulu LaBonne said...

Congratulations - you are looking absolutely regal (evil empresses's always more fun too) and radiant. What a fantastic day.

Pat said...

You deserve it and the hair is great. Pity you have to start working again so soon but hopefully you'll have some me time soon.

Be proud. I am:)

Leni Qinan said...

Litterarum Magistrum! WOW! Congrats Eryl! (**APPLAUSE**)

And you look stunning! I loooove your hairstyle!!!

It looks like it was a solemn and beautiful graduation ceremony. Good luck with your lecture on symbolism un novel!

((Why disn't you show to your readerships your pretty face in the last pic, instead of pretending to be a Star Wars warrior?))

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I've never been doffed. Or certified. Is it painful? Or contagious? Well done, you.

Carole said...

Woo Hoo. You are my hero. Plus you are a lot of other good things including smart. And I admire that.

You do look like you could unrepentantly stab someone though.

Charlie said...

It's my turn to leave a comment, one of a celebratory nature. Congratulations on your degree, and I love your look of unabashed pride in the processional photo.

Eryl Shields said...

Cuban ~ I'd love to be a hoodie!

Weaver ~ I don't know why I agree to these things: the pay is terrible and most of the students seem to find it torture. I suppose it's for the one or two in whom I see the light come visibly on.

Parsnip ~ there was cake, tons of different sorts, and a rather nice sparkling wine. Well worth two and half year's work! I'm rather taken with the idea of being a galactic empress, X

Lulu ~ thank you, I felt quite regal, until my feet started to hurt, X

Pat ~ it is nice to feel I've achieved something concrete and respectable, so I do feel quite proud, X

Leni ~ it sounds awfully Hogwarts doesn't it? I am now a fully qualified word-witch!

I'm so pleased with my hair, I must endeavour to keep it like this, but I do have a tendency to leave it until it becomes unbearably long and straggly.

UB ~ it is slightly disconcerting and could well be contagious! Thank you.

Carole ~ I look like I could unrepentantly stab someone, gosh, all the time or just sometimes?

Charlie ~ how lovely of you to come over whilst you are convalescing, thank you. Is my pride so obvious, my mother would disapprove?

debra said...

Just as Sav is honored to be the first to congratulate you, I am honoroed to b the last (so far). Kudos to you, Eryl. You so deserve this. Celebrate with the beverage of your choice and add a bit of dark chocolate and a slie of vanila cheesecake!

Carole said...

Only in the cowl. Normally you look sweet and precious.

newjenny said...

Congratulations. You look very nice in your gown. Was there a buffet?

Eryl Shields said...

Debra ~ thank you, beverages and chocolate have been duly consumed!

Carole ~ thank goodness, I thought you could see something that might get me locked up.

Jenny ~ there was a rather odd buffet that consisted entirely of cakes and fruit on sticks. I was desperate for a sandwich and a cocktail sausage, too, having not had either breakfast or lunch.

Kass said...

You displayed the appropriate aplomb and attire. I congratulate you on all steps you took to get to the ceremony and all the steps you took while there (especially the ones in flip flops).

I adore symbolism. Anything that takes me several steps away from actuality is O.K. by me. After all, reality is for people who can't handle drugs.

Eryl Shields said...

Kass ~ thank you, switching to flip flops made it all so much nicer but if I hadn't been wearing the heels to begin it wouldn't have felt so blissful.

Me too, and I hope I can convey that to the students. Perhaps I'll quote you!

hope said...

To put it ever so non-elegantly....


Congratulations on all your hard work.

Kass said...

ERYL - If you quote me, you need to give credit to Candace Pert for "reality is for people who can't handle drugs." Candace is the pharmacologist who discovered the receptor site on the brain for opiates. She's written a book called The Molecules of Emotion. It deals with the connection between our brains, glands, and immune system and how emotions affect our health.

Kass said...

I googled that quote and apparently it has been attributed to a lot of people...so I really don't know who said it first....maybe I did, heh heh.

Eryl Shields said...

Hope ~ thank you!

Kass ~ that sounds like a book I have to read. I'll say: 'as my friend Kass is fond of quoting...' and leave out the source, they won't check anyway.

Kass said...

"Friend Kass." I like that.

Golden West said...

Hi Eryl,

Belated congratulations on your superb achievement - way to go! All best wishes!

Eryl Shields said...

Kass ~ it definitely fits.

Golden ~ thank you!

63mago said...


And I notice with joy that you got a Latin charta.

Eryl Shields said...

Thanks Mago!

The academic world, here, loves its Latin. There is something lovely about the use of Latin, too, it situates one in history. Or, at least, it feels like it does. I feel like I've joined a very elegant club!

rochambeau said...

YOU are a gorgeous graduate Eryl!
Congrats to you, bella!


Eryl Shields said...

Thank you, Constance! X