A new book of Marilyn Monroe’s unpublished writing has come out, with many images of her handwritten thoughts. I was fascinated by what her writing revealed; here is a quick interpretation.
Some of the personality traits shown in Marilyn’s handwriting contrast sharply with her public image as a fragile, ethereal creature.
The pressure Marilyn put onto her pen, and the forward slant of her writing show emotional force, a lust for life, a need to connect.
The t-stem and t-bars are long, straight and firm. This shows pride, a strong will and great determination. The loops of the t, l and d are often large, indicating she was very sensitive to criticism.
Both left and right margins tend to be very narrow, indicating Marilyn had few boundaries. She was too susceptible to the influence of others and tended to scatter her energy.
The samples show Marilyn’s writing veered between extremes of connectedness. Either all letters are connected or all letters are seperated – this variability suggests she was trying on different modes of thinking like different suits of clothes. The connected letters show a logical way of thinking, the disconnected ones, intuition had the upper hand. From the frequency with which the connected writing appears, it seems reasonable to assume that this was her usual hand. She used a logical process to try to make sense of her chaotic life, but this process seems to have constantly been disrupted.
The lower loops – y – are very long and wide, but they are looped far below the baseline – indicates a strong physical drive, and a lot of imagination but a lack of fulfillment. (Physical drive can mean anything involving the body, from sex to sports.)
Some of the samples show a disorganized way of thinking – the mind goes everywhere at once and can’t stay focused.
The overall impression is of a strongly emotional person, determined to make her way in the world, striving hard to compensate for deep-seated feelings of inadequacy, searching for meaning and for connection with others and never really finding it.
Compare the above sample from Marilyn’s early life to one written years later:
Even in suicidal despair, the strong will was there. But it wasn’t enough to keep her alive in a world that idolized, objectified and finally destroyed her.
These images come from this book via Maria Popova of Brainpickings.
According to Popova, Marilyn Monroe was “a complex, sensitive being who peered deeply into her own psyche and thought intensely about the world and other people.”
Thanks to Patrishka from Patrishka’s Open Mouth for the images. Patrishka is a photographer. Click here to see her intriguing work.