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Political Cartoons. Mr. Bauer. Modem political cartoons began around the time of Confederation, and they became regular features in Canadian newspapers by the 1890s.

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Presentation Transcript
Modem political cartoons began around the time of Confederation, and they became regular features in Canadian newspapers by the 1890s.
  • What cartoonists lacked in artistic ability they made up for in their ability to accurately satirize Canadian politics and politicians
common cartoon devices
  • An oversize figure appears powerful, threatening, and serious. A small figure appears powerless and intimidated.


light and dark
Light and Dark:
  • Dark design creates a feeling of disaster, fear and mystery Light design, in contrast, conveys light-he redness, hope, and goodwill.
  • Light lines are often used to convey a feeling of whimsy and humor, dark lines, one of seriousness. Crooked body lines convey tension.
  • This technique emphasizes physical defects to the point where the person looks ridiculous, while still being instantly recognizable.
  • One object stands for another object or idea. Examples of common symbols are a beaver, maple leaf or Canadian flag for Canada, Uncle Sam for the United States, a mortar board for education, a gavel for justice, a dove, for peace, and the hobnailed boot for an oppressor.
  • Groups of people are often represented in an oversimplified and inaccurate way that makes them, nonetheless, easily recognizable. Examples of the use of stereotyping are working class males wearing baseball caps and t-shirts over protruding stomachs, and sales people with wide smiles over large teeth, wearing checkered suits.
  • An object, person, situation or idea is overstated. A politician who is besieged by problems might be depicted as being tied a burning stake, with each piece of firewood labelled with the name of one of his or her political problems.
  • Enlarging a figure can make it appear threatening, influential, serious, invincible and pompous. The smaller or shrunken figures in relation to the oversized figure act as symbols of superior over inferior (i.e.. the ruler and his subjects).
  • Many educators have stated that interpreting political cartoons can be considered a basic skill much like those found in basic literature courses. The mastery of this skill requires a strategy focusing on smaller skills necessary to understanding the cartoons.
skills for interpretation
Skills for Interpretation

Identifying the subjects presented

Explaining the caption

Describing the stereotype used and that this use might not reflect true reality but is an exaggeration intended for purpose

Comprehending historical references and images

Explaining the issue in question

Appreciating the use of humor and exaggeration


Interpreting the message or viewpoint

Comparing the messages of two or more cartoons (especially those that depict the same subject or issue)

Judging the cartoonist’s bias in relation to one’s own point of view

Drawing a cartoon using the appropriate techniques to express one’s own point of view (stick figures acceptable)

Recognizing the cartoon’s editorial function