Herblock Political Cartoon Analysis

Britt Richardson, Jack Anderson, Jacob Stehsel

Greatest Country on Earth- July 23, 2000

Picture-

The main focus of the image is a flag pole with a ton of signs naming some of the problems the U.S. faces. An American flag is on the top.


Subject and Context

Subject- The picture focuses on the issues facing the U.S. at the time such as drugs or a flawed school system.



Context- The U.S. at the time was the only superpower in the world. Even with all the prosperity and general growth of the U.S., it still had problems such as high rates of drug users and reckless driving accidents.

Techniques

Symbolism- The flag is at the top, representing the U.S. as the number 1 superpower.

The issues seem to be building blocks of the country.


Labeling- The signs label the issues facing America.


Irony- Americans believed they were infallible and the "Greatest Country on Earth" but the country was actually built on fundamental flaws that weren't acknowledged.


Purpose

The illustrator seeks to point out that even the seemingly strong U.S. still suffered from problems that were brushed under the proverbial rug.


Fire- June 17, 1949

Picture

A man with a bucket of water, with the title Hysteria on his pants, is climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty to extinguish the torch.


Subject and Context

Subject- The focus of the cartoon is the panic created by the Cold War.



Context- Four years after the end of World War 2 and only a few years into the Cold War between Russia and the United States, the Red Scare began as fear of Communist infiltration of America grew. Harry S. Truman was president during this time. McCarthyism, the practice of making accusations of disloyalty or treason with no proper evidence, and heavy handed policies began and became the norm.

Techniques

Symbolism-

The torch represents freedom/liberty.

The man with the bucket represents the american hysteria over the "Communist threat", while the bucket of water represents the policies used against the "Communist traitors."


Exaggeration-

The giant ladder emphasizes the trouble people went through to create the policies.

The scale of the person to the torch was made so people would see it and recognize immediately.


Labeling-

He labeled the word hysteria on the man's pants.


Analogy-

The torch represents the liberties and freedoms of American citizens.


Irony-

The man in the picture is attempting to put out a fake fire.


Purpose

Herb Block aimed to make fun of the people who made a problem out of nothing which resulted in the Red Scare


Fruits of Victory- March 16, 1949

Picture

Two men are standing around a bowl of apples, with the words civil rights and rent controls on them, that have worms labeled coalition and holes inside of the apples.



Subject and Context

Subject-

The main subject of the cartoon is the coalition undermining Truman's proposed programs.


Context-

The men standing around the bowl are Truman and another man. In Truman's first State of the Union address, he proposed new programs for civil rights and a variety of other issues, but each program was stopped by a "coalition" of republicans and southern democrats.


Techniques

Symbolism-

The worms are the coalition, representing them as low and unwanted.

The apples are the proposed programs that are good and helpful.


Exaggeration-

The apples are outrageously oversized.

Worms have arms and have been personified.


Labeling-

The worm is labelled with coalition.

Two of the apples are labelled Civil Rights and Rent Controls.


Analogy-

The coalition undermining the policies is to the worms eating the apple.


Irony-

By putting all his apples in one basket Truman made them all available to one group of worms.


Purpose

This cartoon is meant to be persuasive that the coalition is wrong and to show Herb Block's support for Truman's ideas.