The writing of Elizabeth Dole


Writing sample is merged from three different documents.

Elizabeth Dole (1936- ) -- Eager for Influence by Pat Siegel

  • First Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan
  • Secretary of Labor under the first President George Bush
  • President of the American Red Cross
  • United States Senator from North Carolina

Elizabeth was born in North Carolina. In a book co-written with her husband, Senator Bob Dole, she describes her middle class upbringing only in the most positive light. Significantly, she doesn’t relay any serious difficulties or disappointments. As Elizabeth tells it, she was "a serious child and eager to please." "I learned a strong work ethic." "As a ringleader... I was a precocious organizer." She learned early how to excel at being both smart and pretty, and packaged these qualities with a sweet exterior and Southern charm. She received a law degree and a master’s degree in education and government from Harvard, unusual for a woman at that time. Her priority was her career; she married late in life, and never had children.

Elizabeth was successful at almost anything she strived for. Remarkably, she had the confidence to be the first woman in her party to seek the nomination for President of the United States. A perfectionist, Elizabeth’s careful, scripted style is programmed; it did not allow for the spontaneity and imagination voters seek in an inspirational leader. After a lifetime or prior accomplishments, her candidacy failed. Elizabeth’s handwriting is self-consciously designed to be bold and unique. It is a carefully constructed armor of defense. She draws an exaggerated, yet deliberately controlled persona that protects her sensitive, anxious core. Form dominant, her ego ideal aims to be artistic, skillful and correct, and in no way ordinary. To be ordinary would be to fail, too threatening for her to contemplate. As her ambitions escalate, so does the pressure to perform. The stroke quality in this fax copy appears warm, but the presentation is static despite the large loops and long beginning strokes. There are breaks and retraces throughout, checking the flow of progressive movement. The rounded feminine letters are contrived; her practiced charm manipulates to create the intended image. The overemphasised initial arcade in the m, followed by retrace and garland, is a premeditated movement. Her writing is overtly feminine with a masculine undertone. Great effort is made to impress and maintain the façade. The perseveration in retracing whole letters shows inhibiting, compulsive tendencies, reflecting stress and anxiety.

How can a woman, with this rigid, artificial presentation succeed for so long, accomplishing at such a high-level? The value of getting things right and the desire to be in control cannot be underestimated. Elizabeth’s façade is a very tough veneer, protecting her vulnerability within. But she believes in and is sustained by her idealised greatness and goodness, and has learned how to be the best through hard work, planning and clever, deliberate maneuvering. She is highly persistent in being right and doing right and does not allow herself to doubt herself. Resentments and frustrations are swept under the carpet of respectability. Her innate energy and stubborn adherence to acquired values compensate for a lack of true resilience and allow her to tackle challenges with confidence.

Her writing dominates all available space; she holds onto preconceived ideas. Her pride and ambition are seen in elaborated capitals and full loops; her determination is evident in the displaced pressure at the end of her name, the dashes throughout, and the need to maintain a semblance of connections, even when they are false, patched connections.


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