Friday, July 8, 2011

Handwriting Analysis on My Protagonists

A few weeks ago author Stephanie Cowell posted an update on Facebook about meeting a woman who was able to tell a great deal about her character from the way she signs her books. Intrigued, I responded that I'd be afraid to know what my handwriting may reveal. A short time later, the lady in question, Betty Rozakis, contacted me and we started talking. She has over 20 years of experience and is the only American to have earned the Advanced Diploma from the British Academy of Graphology. I asked her if she would be able to analyze the handwriting of people who lived long ago and give some insight into their personalities. She said she could. Since the protagonists of The Oak Lovers were my great-grandparents and I happen to have quite a few handwriting samples, I jumped on the chance to find out more.

I specifically wanted to know what might have drawn seventeen-year-old Madonna to a much older, married, penniless and crippled man like Carl Ahrens. While quite handsome and a genius, he had a lot of things going against him. I also have a handwriting sample for Carl’s first wife, Emily, whom I know very little about, and wanted to know if I could learn anything about what may have soured that marriage.

Betty and I struck a deal. She asked for handwriting samples and drawings of trees, if possible, from Carl, Madonna and I. How convenient that Carl's specialty was trees!

Here are some of the things I learned, edited a bit for clarity. In this post I'll cover Carl and Madonna's analysis. I'll discuss my own in my next post.

Madonna was a highly intelligent young woman who was sensitive to other people's feelings and ready to help the withdrawn, discouraged and charming Carl. She was quite discouraged and sad herself and had a strong need for freedom, space, and air. She wanted to follow a firm path of action to allow for her ambitious creative talents. She had tall projects that she wanted to achieve. Perhaps her mother made the wrong decision for her in sending her to Roycroft. Your gifted and talented great-grandmother's character needed the systematic Boston Art School. It had more of the correct training that she craved.

She was a bit too idealistic, romantic and generous in her attitude with Carl. She had confidence in people. You stated several times that you caught your great- grandmother in a few lies. Her character needed to do the right and correct thing and took a personal obligation to 'fix' others....but in a graceful dutiful sort of way. During her marriage to Carl, she chose to cover-up and protect, she was altruistic and self-sacrificing. She had a strong sense of duty, moral courage and stamina. She was consistent, wise, loyal and traditional in her habits. She had a refined loyal calm, was comfortable with routine, but she knew how to protect herself when needed. She was sociable and amiable, but welcomed her time alone. She was quite vigilant and constrained her feelings. Her basic nature needed to have fun and relax along with introspective creativity. She was more able to achieve this once Carl passed away.

As for Carl, you mentioned that his mother never forgave him for choosing his father over her. From her handwriting I can tell that she was an undisciplined woman, more of a pleasure seeking type. Could it be that Carl's father preferred to squash his son's spirit with strict conformity? It doesn't seem possible that a young boy in that environment would be allowed such a choice. Carl's early handwriting reflects this.

During Carl's early years his character needed to conform in order to survive emotionally, an imposed persona, a stereotyped social attitude. This imposed convention percolated deep in his subconscious. His true self was buried underneath the scars of a wounded human dignity. Discipline - to 'soldier on' against all the odds – a silent misery. He had apparent tolerance, apparent sociability, apparent easy communication, but this imposed compliance, social imitation, and forced adaptation created HAVOC for his subconscious. His buried nature wanted to fight, hit back, break through, hence the 'fighting trees'. As a result – neuroses, fantasies, viciousness, brutality, all hidden behind a 'civilized' easy-going no nonsense social attitude. He was mistrustful, had hypocritical behaviors, extreme skepticism, arrogance and lack of common sense. His marriage to Emily perpetuated his squashed subconscious. From her writing I can tell she had a strict unyielding demeanor. She needed to protect and control and had an intrusive, insensitive character.

When Carl met Madonna she triggered the spontaneous emotional experiences that his character craved. It was a meeting of two subconscious souls....both in need. Carl feared emotional pain and compensated by engaging in pleasurable pursuits. He had a constant need for more.

By 1912 [at the height of his fame] Carl gained a self-confidence that didn't exist pre Madonna. He was dynamic, and enterprising but still needed to escape and expand and grow. He was jovial, expressive, sensual and had a targeted purpose. Unfortunately, Carl was unable to reconcile his innermost individuality with the imposed veneer of his upbringing. He hid his unspoken misery in the world of his dreams, as depicted in his trees.

After reading Betty's analysis, I was pleased to discover that she saw the same people I saw, and this confirmed my view that I had them "right."

Stop back two weeks from today and, as Betty would say, have coffee with Kim's subconscious. If you are interested in learning more about handwriting analysis, click here to go to Betty’s website.


  1. Anonymous08 July, 2011

    This is such a cool post. Loved it. And what a great way to get more personality for characters!

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by, Karen. It was great fun! I had mine own done as well (next post)and surprise, surprise, learned I have a lot in common with Carl.

  3. That is really interesting! It's hard to believe so much can be read into one's handwriting! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kim,

    I had my handwriting analyzed in late 1970s and didn't pay it any mind until years later when I was going through a critical time and read it again. It saw so much I didn't realize. It was spot on! Loved this post, so fascinating and love the old letters.

  5. Anonymous08 July, 2011

    Wow! That is incredible! It is amazing she could derive so much just from looking at their handwriting. People can be superficial, and some won't understand what Madonna saw in Carl. It truly was a "meeting of their subconscious minds".

    Madonna saw the hidden man man inside Carl, longing to break free, ripened and ready to break free, and he saw the same longing in Madonna.

    So you definitely hit the nail on the head according to this specialist.

    Katrina Nunez

  6. How very interesting! Seems you had Madonna pegged all along!

  7. Susan - I was shocked at how accurate she was about me and so I believe her when it comes to Carl and Madonna. I'm thrilled that I come from a family of pack rats - those were scans from the actual letters, which I have.

    Katrina - Yes, I was amazed. Even without being told, I could imagine what might have drawn Madonna to him. He was a handsome man, and he was a genius. He was also very charming and progressive in his views about women. It was great to have someone else confirm my assumptions about them. No wonder my beta readers are commenting about how real they seem!

    Robert, thank you for stopping by! Yep, I hear her loud and clear!

  8. This post reveals so much to me about our ancestors, Carl and Madonna. I have heard you tell me some of the specific details and read descriptions of their personality characteristics in The Oak Lovers, and it is amazing that Ms. Rozakis had so much insight without reading your book manuscript and former blogs. This causes me to want to get a handwriting analysis on my own writing. What do you think?

  9. Do it, Dan! We can compare notes!

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  11. Paula Niall09 July, 2011

    I have always been interested in Graphoanalysis since I studied it with Certified, Elthea Reihm in Kitchener, years ago, but Betty has pulled out in depth information and characteristics that I would not necessarily discovered, as I did not go on to become Certified. I have often thought of renewing my knowledge as I recognize this as a valid science.

    Betty's comments brought a number of questions to my mind, especially around Carl. Too many to comment on here. Apparently, he was a far more complex personality than I had realized. I am intrigued by how much his childhood background affected him! How much did she know of his actual life and background before giving her analysis? Was that a photo of Madonna or Emily? I had never thought of Madonna as looking so severe, although her life could not have been easy. What a great idea offering Betty the handwriting of your real-life protagonists! Good thinking!

  12. Martha M.09 July, 2011

    Wow, very interesting, Kim! I do feel that handwriting shows a lot about someone's emotional state, if nothing else. I wonder why the analyst wanted to see drawing of trees? Well, I suppose it reveals something about the individual in a social context. Did she say anything about Emily?


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