Starting strokes of any kind show that the writer has done some planning before taking action. Starting strokes that are lofty in nature may indicate that the writer has a high opinion of himself and regards others with contempt. Initial hooks can indicate either acquisitiveness or rigidity of thought, but they can also be considered an amplifying factor if they are part of a lofty starting stroke (the value of the stroke is increased). High hooks, according to European graphologists, are a sign of unworthy personal pride or an erroneous sense of dignity, characterized by a reluctance to mingle or pitch in with others.
The best example of this trait indicator is the unequally proportioned letter M. The type of initial or capital letter with a lofty beginning is also traditionally interpreted as an indication of arrogance or self-pride.
Interestingly, the opposite appearance of an initial letter (appearing to mount upwards after a more moderate beginning) is thought to indicate a more self-conscious attitude, which may include a reliance on others’ opinions.
Low (non-rigid) starting strokes may indicate an Earthbound attitude or ultra-conservative approach to the writer’s desired form of preparation – they are emerging from the realm of materiality – which frequently manifests itself in a desire to avoid new or untested ideas. Hooks in very low starting strokes that emerge from below baseline may indicate hoarding of possessions or ideas, and are (as one might expect) considered amplifying factors.
If rigid long and low starting strokes (originating at or below the baseline) are detected, the stroke qualifies for interpretation as evidence of reactive and aggressive planning (Bunker termed this the Resentment stroke).
To a large extent, all ornamental strokes, such as the spiral or initial strokes, are artificial and calculated affectations. Some decorative strokes are tasteful embellishments, while others are inappropriate and in poor taste.
Final letters and strokes in individual words or lines, like initial strokes, can be formed with a degree of freedom from the problem of connecting to the next letter. As the pen moves through words, most writers have a natural tendency to focus a decreasing amount of attention on form and structure. Thus, at the end of words and lines, the writer is at his most unguarded, and a comparison of word beginnings and endings may reveal differences between the image the writer wishes to project and his actual character!
Klages believed that every writer’s handwriting reflected a fundamental conflict between natural instincts and mental control. Those who believe in his theories of rhythm and form-level see the endings of words and lines as important considerations: the script’s speed corresponds to the writer’s level of impulsivity, while the script’s rhythm and regularity correspond to the level of control he exercises over these drives. The act of stopping the flow of handwriting and ending a word disrupts the writer’s rhythm and demonstrates his ability to control his impulses.
Klages claimed that graphologists could only learn to recognize rhythm through intuition. Handwriting analysis can be learned through trial and error, and knowledge can be gained through observation.
The writer reveals something about his attitude toward social issues by being able to choose the direction of his final strokes and place them in more or less any direction that suits him. Within words, his script must generally progress to the right; however, once he is no longer required to connect his script to the next letter, he may choose to regressively return to a self-protective or backward-looking stance with his pen. He could drive to the right into the future and the society of others; he could descend fatalistically or rise up into the abstract zone; he could choose to extend or shorten his strokes; and all of these things have an impact on how he interacts with others.
Wherever they appear in the subject’s script, bank-slanted final strokes with a sudden change in angle in the final strokes of letter formations (usually clearly leftwards and angular in construction) have negative social implications. In general, they denote obstinacy, or the proclivity to cling to (and profess) ideas and concepts with zeal. Writers who consistently exhibit this trait have an overwhelming desire to be correct all of the time and will not willingly abandon an idea or admit to being mistaken in any belief or opinion, even if they are confronted with clear evidence to the contrary; they will also refuse to admit their error to others.
Because the end of words or lines is supposed to be a more socially significant zone, European graphologists interpret this type of formation differently if it occurs in the Finishing Zone. The writer’s desire to distance himself from others is indicated by abruptly back-slanting final letters, which Singer describes as “likely to be shown in a sudden last-minute change from more socially-minded attitudes.”
Strokes that abruptly end after reaching the baseline indicate a positive (but perhaps narrow) attitude toward personal beliefs and opinions. Others may misinterpret this as a lack of politeness. When we consider this interpretation in light of Pulver’s belief in the social significance of the last letter, it’s easy to see why this type of word ending has long been associated with brusqueness.
Words that shrink or shrink in size as they progress but retain their clarity of form indicate a desire to avoid conflict and a diplomatic demeanor that some analysts associate with maturity.
A lack of reserve is indicated by words that grow in size as they progress. Some analysts regard this progressive enlargement as a possible sign of immaturity (inability to restrain the flow of the script = inability to control impulses), as it is the mark of a man who might suddenly blurt out his thoughts and feelings when a more diplomatic character would hold his tongue.
Any strokes that should have reached the baseline but didn’t indicate inhibition of some kind. The social ramifications of such stifled final strokes are obvious. European graphologists, perhaps unfairly, interpret this type of letter formation negatively as a fear of being exposed in front of others (the subject is afraid of showing his mistakes or weaknesses), which leads to deceptive actions and words on his part.
The final stroke, “back to self,” denotes selfishness and self-preservation (it turns away from social attitudes). Some graphologists believe that a regressive stroke that rises above the mundane zone is a sign of a protective outlook that extends to others.
Long end-strokes indicate generosity (to oneself and others) and a broader perspective than a writer who abruptly ends. The trait’s strength grows in lockstep with the length of the final stroke.
Excessively long and emphatic final strokes are regarded by European graphologists as a sign of excessive generosity, which does not necessarily imply lavishness or wastefulness. Several analysts have described it as the mark of a man who is literally able to force his generosity on others.
Final strokes that are overly pressed could indicate a proclivity for brutality.
Final strokes that arc upwards (almost vertically) into the upper zone depart from the realm of practical and everyday affairs and enter the realm of abstraction. When they appear (especially in signatures), they usually indicate a fascination with religious or mystical issues.
Stroke-by-stroke final hooks (no matter where they appear) are thought to indicate tenacity, or the ability to hold on to concepts or material things that the subject possesses. Hooks at the ends of words or lines are considered a sign of greed and/or selfishness by traditional graphologists.
A writer who connects words within sentences and leaves no spaces between words may be suffering from compulsive behavior. He may obsessively look for logical connections between concepts that don’t exist, or he may see everything that comes across his path as part of a single, interconnected problem that can’t be divided into smaller compartments.