Political Cartoon Analysis

By Samantha Lee and Justin Yun

"You Read Books, eh?" By Herblock

Date: April 24, 1949

Subject: Fear of Communism in the US

Context: After World War II, beginning of Cold War


Symbolism: The men symbolize the government

The apple and ruler indicate a normal classroom setting

Jefferson's face shows disapproval, symbolizing the Founding Father's assumed anger over the interrogation

Exaggeration: The number of people and the interrogation is depicted in the extreme

Labeling: The briefcase is labeled as "Anti-subversive committees"

Analogy: Men and the teacher are an analogy to the government and normal civilians

Irony: Such an intense interrogation on an obviously innocent teacher


Purpose: Shows how unnecessary the government's suspicion of the American people was

I made my decision after listening to... By Herblock

Date: July 19, 2000

Subject: The voting strategy on the 2000 election

Context: 2000 Bush vs. Gore election


Symbolism: The two men symbolize the American people divided between two candidates

Labeling: The buttons label the candidates each man voted for

Analogy: Comparison to the American people as a whole

Irony: Irony is represented by each man choosing their candidate to support after listening to the other candidate


Purpose: Shows how both candidates were not beneficial for the country

Balance By Herblock

Date: February 4, 1998


Subject: Bill Clinton's presidential events

Context: Bill Clinton presenting a balanced budget for the first time in 30 years while dealing with the Monica Lewinsky scandal


Symbolism: The woman symbolizes Monica Lewinsky

The tightrope symbolizes dangerous situation Cinton was in after the scandal

The crowd represents the American people

Exaggeration: Walking across a tightrope is an exaggerated situation that symbolizes Clinton's plight

Labeling: The book is labelled budget

Analogy: The tightrope us an analogy to the delicate situation Clinton was dealing with in reality


Purpose: To show the difficult situation Clinton faced proposing the first balanced budget in 30 years while dealing with accusations from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.