Political Cartoon Analysis

Blake Archer and Lauren Donavan

"Right Up My Alley"

Published by Washington Post, 1985.


  • Subject- Banning abortions
  • Context- In the Reagan administration, banning abortions was a top priority. On July 10 the House of Representatives stopped providing funding for international abortion groups, and 5 days later, General Charles Fried requested Roe vs. Wade be overturned. Roe vs. Wade is what gives women a right to abort.
  • Symbolism- The shady alley and man represent the illegitimate and very dangerous "back room" abortions that would benefit from an overturn of Roe Vs. Wade.
  • Labeling- To provide understanding of what the mysterious man is smiling about, the author provided a pamphlet that says "back room abortions" to provide clarity that the man is a crook doctor that performs the illegitimate abortions. To understand what the men in white coats are protesting, the author also labeled their signs to indicate they support ending abortions, and the Dept. of Justice agrees.
  • Irony- By using the phrase, "right up my alley" the author is using a pun on words. "Right up my alley" is a common phrase to express knowledge in a subject (abortion). The author drew a real, backdoor alley, creating irony.
  • Purpose- The author is trying to explain that even though abortion is a tragedy, it is unavoidable. The matter is not whether women will get abortions, rather, where they will get them, and how safe they will be. By de-funding and not providing safe abortion clinics, women will turn to dangerous crooks.

"A House Divided--Preserve the Union"

Published by the Washington Post, 2000



  • Subject- The influence of a politician's religion in a campaign.
  • Context- During the 2000 election the candidates' religions played a major role in the votes they received. However, presidents during Lincoln's era could quote the bible but kept their religious preferences private.
  • Symbolism- Abraham Lincoln represents the earlier presidents in America's history that didn't flaunt their religions because of lack of religious diversity.
  • Irony- The reader would expect for someone in the crowd to get tired of listening to a politician's personal religion, and learn about their policies. However, the citizens in the crowds are more interested in Lincoln's religion, rather than important issues.
  • Purpose- To advocate change in politician's speeches, and make them more political, rather than religious.


"Jump Start"

Published by the Washington Post, 2000



  • Subject- Gore's progress in the 2000 presidential election.
  • Context- Al Gore was dropping in the polls during the 2000 presidential election. He received a boost when senator Joseph Lieberman joined his campaign.
  • Symbolism- The car in the air with sirens represents Al Gore's campaign and popularity after Lieberman joined his campaign. The other car, represents Lieberman joining the campaign and "jump starting" the popularity.
  • Exaggeration- When cars get jump started they don't fly in the air, like the one in the cartoon does.
  • Labeling- Both cars are labeled, indicating each politician.
  • Analogy- Cars and campaigns are not alike, yet the author uses the analogy of one car jump starting the other, the same way Lieberman's addition did to Gore's campaign.
  • Purpose- To inform the reader of Lieberman's affect on Gore's campaign, and to be humorous.