Understanding editorial cartoons
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Understanding Editorial Cartoons. How to Analyze a Political Cartoon.

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Understanding Editorial Cartoons

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Understanding editorial cartoons

Understanding Editorial Cartoons


How to analyze a political cartoon

How to Analyze a Political Cartoon

  • Let you eyes “float” over the cartoon. Allow your mind and your eyes to naturally find the focal point—usually an exaggeration or caricature. Look in the immediate vicinity of the primary focus for anyallusions(references to something you know from history, literature, etc.

    2. Follow the natural flow by discovering the interactions with other people or objects in the cartoon.

    • If it’s a person, who is it? Is it a real person?

      • Where is he/she?

      • To whom is he/she talking? What is being said?

      • What is the person doing?

    • If it is an object, what is happening to that object?

      • Why is it where it is?


How to analyze a political cartoon continued

How to Analyze a Political Cartoon (continued)

3. Look at the minor details in the cartoon. Sometimes objects or people in the background or along the sides of the cartoon are subtle influences on the humor or the point of the cartoon.

4. Be sure to read any labels. Cartoonists sometimes label people or objects to be sure the reader understands who or what they represent.


How to analyze a political cartoon continued1

How to Analyze a Political Cartoon (continued)

5. Look for widely recognized symbols. Cartoonists will often use symbols to represent abstract ideas.

  • Uncle Sam or an eagle = USA

  • Donkey = Democrats

  • Elephant = Republican

  • Dove with olive branch = peace

  • Chains = slavery

  • Dawn = rebirth

    6. Look for exaggeration in physical appearance (like clothing) and the facial characteristics and expressions of the people in the cartoon.


How to analyze a political cartoon continued2

How to Analyze a Political Cartoon (continued)

7. Look for the analogy (a comparison between two unlike things that share some characteristic). By comparing a complex issue or situation to something with which your audience would be more familiar, the cartoonist helps the reader understand the intended message.

8. Look for the irony (the difference between the way things are and the way things ought to be or are expected to be).

9. To understand the cartoon, check out the context of the cartoon. Usually a political cartoon is created about current events. Check the date on the cartoon for a clue as to the context.


How to analyze a political cartoon continued3

How to Analyze a Political Cartoon (continued)

10. Determine the audience for the cartoon. What population and locality is the cartoon designed for? Will it persuade them?

Sources:

  • http://www.wikihow.com/Analyze-Political-Cartoons

  • http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactvities/activities/politicalcartoon/index.html

  • http://www.cagle.com/politicalcartoons/


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