Pop-up letters are like pop-up ads; they have a message that surprises you and they are there to get your attention. They lend strong clues about how accepted the writer feels and also may suggest some frustration about not being able to express some latent talent. I will give you a few examples. (By the way, "he" or "him" always implies "she" or "her" so relax girls, and don't feel slighted.)
First, remember we are not speaking about perfect forms or size. It is most healthy to see some variation of both in a handwriting. Rigid perfection indicates an exacting and inflexible approach to life. I am introducing the meaning given to letters that suddenly show up larger within the context of a word.
Technically any middle zone letter that pops up suddenly into the upper zone shows a degree of assertion. Imagine looking at a writing showing the middle zone letters as basically the same height and then all of a sudden you see a letter that lurches upward and becomes uncharacteristically bigger. It pops up. It is as if the writer is saying, 'notice me when I say this—I don't want you to miss this so I am enlarging this letter so you can't.' Of course, it is not a conscious choice.
Pop-up letters can show up as the first letter of a word (one that is not supposed to be capitalized. ) If it happens over and over as a pattern the writer is repeatedly making a plea to command initial attention. He has a desire to assert himself as he begins each word, which is like a new beginning. In some sense, he wants to put his best foot forward. Whether he does that gracefully with finesse, or awkwardly like a klutz will be evaluated in relation to the other traits he has.
If the last letter shows up noticeably taller than the average height of the other middle zone letters over and over again it suggests the writer wants to have the last word a lot of the time. "I'm not leaving until I say the rest of my piece.'
Pop-ups also count when a section of a letter that is supposed to stay within in the middle zone lurches upward instead. In other words, that part of the letter looks larger than normal. Like the letter d when the bowl of the letter is like a balloon or when the buckle on the letter k explodes. (I will talk about the important letter k in a future post. Meanwhile, check your own handwriting carefully.) Each letter holds a different meaning of what the writer wishes to be assertive about.
These pop-ups can also show up in the middle of words. An interesting one is the small letter r, expecially when it is made with a flat top. If you see that ask the person if he or she likes to work with their hands and if they have opportunity to do so. I get fascinating responses when I ask that in normal day-to-day travels. "Do you like work with your hands?" If there are signs of artistic talent I ask, "Do you find opportunity to do something creative with your hands?" The artistic people usually say yes. If not, they say something like, 'I wish I had time to learn to paint...(or whatever.)' I encourage them to do it now even in small increments of time; denied talents have a way of eating at you later.
By the way, whole words or phrases can look like pop-ups. When the meaning behind the word(s) is something the writer feels strongly about he may write it larger. (Visually it looks out of character. No pun intended.) The opposite can be true too when a writer unconsciously shrinks the size of a word or phrase because it is less important or meaningful than he lets on, even to himself. Hmmm. "I love you" written smaller than the rest of the words in a letter? The plot thickens...I would want a long engagement to have things realistically play out. What you read may not be what you get. Doesn't it help to be able to read between the lines?)
Now spend a little time just noticing the size of letter forms you make yourself or see in others' writing. Can you confirm any of this?