How to Decode a Political Cartoon. Definitions "political": that which is concerned with public affairs or government "cartoon": a sketch or drawing that.
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Definitions "political": that which is concerned with public affairs or government "cartoon": a sketch or drawing that interests or amuses by portraying persons, things, political events or situations etc. in an exaggerated way
Definitions SATIRE - uses humor to lower something or someone in the reader’s or viewer’s estimation. It is not mean- spirited and its point is not to harm. It exposes human folly to make room for improvement.
What are Political Cartoons? Political cartoons usually appear on the editorial page of your daily newspaper. They generally deal with events or issues currently in the news and are, in essence, visual editorials. Like the writer of an editorial, the cartoonist is trying to make a point.
What are Political Cartoons? When you look at a political cartoon produced many years ago you are seeing it out of its original context. In order to "get it" you will likely need some background information from classroom discussion, a textbook or your own research. Once you have a general idea of the topic at hand you can start to decode the message the cartoonist is trying to convey.
Tools Used By Cartoonist Exaggeration Allusion Analogy Symbolism Caricature Stereotype Humor Personification
CARICATURE Exaggerates one or more features of a person or thing. It attempts to say something about the person/thing’s character, beliefs, actions or significance. Makes them easily recognizable.
SYMBOL Represents something else. It is a often a material object that represents something abstract or invisible (for example, the Statue of Liberty to represent freedom; or the stars of the confederate flag as KKK).
METAPHOR Uses an object to note a similarity to something else. For example,
IRONY Expresses an idea through a contradiction between something’s literal meaning and the intended meaning. For example, picturing a U.S. president with a crown on his head. SARCASM- is a form of irony. The element that turns irony into sarcasm is the appearance of mockery, or bitterness.
STEREOTYPES Works by taking a real or imagined trait of an individual to be true of the group to which the individual belongs. They express bias and can be unfair and harmful. The black man is sketched to look like an ape, with large lips and no shoes.
Analogy & Allusions Another very important technique is the use of analogy, in which one event is represented by another. An allusion is understandable only to those with prior knowledge of the reference in question (which the writer assumes to be so). A one-sentence or one-phrase (or image) reference to another event, character, etc. in the Bible, mythology, or current event
Three kings follow star to Barack Obama, savior of the Democrats.
Personification Depiciting an inanimate object or abstraction with human qualities or abilities.
Biases When you look at a political cartoon you should consider the biases of the cartoonist. The cartoonist, after all, is trying to make a point. When and where was the cartoon published, and in what type of publication? Who is portrayed in a favourable manner and who is not? Cartoons can display a number of other biases as well (such as political, religious, racial or ethnic, vocational, economic or gender biases).