Political Cartoon Example
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Main Idea, Satire, and What techniques the artist used.
1. Symbolism: Cartoonists use simple objects, or symbols, to stand for larger
concepts or ideas.
After you identify the symbols in a cartoon, think about what the cartoonist
intends each symbol to stand for.
2. Exaggeration: Sometimes cartoonists overdo, or exaggerate, the physical
characteristics of people or things in order to make a point.
When you study a cartoon, look for any characteristics that seem overdone or
overblown. (Facial characteristics and clothing are some of the most commonly
exaggerated characteristics.) Then, try to decide what point the cartoonist was
trying to make through exaggeration.
3. Labeling: Cartoonists often label objects or people to make it clear exactly
what they stand for.
Watch out for the different labels that appear in a cartoon, and ask yourself why
the cartoonist chose to label that particular person or object. Does the label
make the meaning of the object clearer?
4. Analogy: An analogy is a comparison between two unlike things that share
some characteristics. By comparing a complex issue or situation with a more
familiar one, cartoonists can help their readers see it in a different light.
After you’ve studied a cartoon for a while, try to decide what the cartoon’s
main analogy is. What two situations does the cartoon compare? Once you
understand the main analogy, decide if this comparison makes the cartoonist’s
point more clear to you.
5. Irony: Irony is the difference between the ways things are and the way things
should be, or the way things are expected to be. Cartoonists often use irony to
express their opinion on an issue.