Political Cartoon Unit 12/2020

  1. From https://slo.neric.org/cartoons/intro-slo.htm

Political cartoons serve to make people think about political and government issues by:

  • providing readers with additional viewpoints

  • assuming the reader has enough background knowledge about the issues to understand the message

  • emphasizing one side of an issue or concern

  • utilizing humor

  • relying on drawings to make a point







Cartoonists use the following persuasive techniques to create humor:

symbolism - using an object to stand for an idea.

caricature - exaggerating a physical feature or habit: big nose, bushy eyebrows, large ears, baldness.

captioning and labels - used for clarity and emphasis.

analogy - a comparison between two unlike things that share some characteristics.

irony - the difference between the way things are and the way things should be or the way things are expected to be.

juxtaposition - positioning people or objects near each other, side-by-side.

exaggeration - overstating or magnifying a problem.

Symbols used in Political Cartoons

peace - dove, olive branch, victory sign.

United States - Uncle Sam, flag, stars and stripes, shield.

Democrats - donkey.

Republicans - elephant.

death - vulture, skeleton with shroud, skull and crossbones, grim reaper.

love - heart, Cupid, Venus.

money - dollar bill or dollar sign.

heroes or good guys - wear white.

villains or bad guys - wear black.

Steps in Analyzing a Political Cartoon

  1. Identify the characters, symbols and objects in the cartoon.

  2. Look for clues and details that would given further meaning.

  3. Identify the main idea of the cartoon by reading the captions and putting the message into their own words.

  4. Identify any bias the cartoonist might have.






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