Political Cartoons Explained

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This presentation shows what to look for in political cartoons and gives you a chance to test your understanding. It also includes political cartoons from the campaign between Coolidge and Harding.

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Political Cartoons Explained

  1. 1. It’s No Laughing Matter Understanding Political Cartoons
  2. 2. How Do I Know what the Cartoon is Saying? 5 – Things to Look for: 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.
  3. 3. How Do I Know what the Cartoon is Saying?  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.
  4. 4. How Do I Know what the Cartoon is Saying  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 more clear?
  5. 5. How Do I Know what the Cartoon is Saying  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.
  6. 6. How Do I Know what the Cartoon is Saying?  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. When you look at a cartoon, see if you can find any irony in the situation the cartoon depicts. If you can, think about what point the irony might be intended to emphasize. Does the irony help the cartoonist express his or her opinion more effectively
  7. 7. Once you’ve identified the persuasive techniques that the cartoonist used, ask yourself:      What issue is this political cartoon about? What is the cartoonist’s opinion on this issue? What other opinion can you imagine another person having on this issue? Did you find this cartoon persuasive? Why or why not? What other techniques could the cartoonist have used to make this cartoon more persuasive?
  8. 8. Curiosity Landing on Mars Is there Symbolis m Is there an exaggeration? Wha t is Is there an analogy? W hat is be ing compared? labe led? Is there irony that expresses an opinion? ?
  9. 9. Curiosity Landing on Mars  There are no aliens on Mars.  Curiosity’s landing is similar to a perfect Olympic landing. The irony is…….  The irony is that the aliens only have one eyeball this means they only have one point of view. The labels are….  The alien’s t-shirt and Curiosity are labeled. The symbolism  The Flag is symbolic of America. The alien’s shirt represents the The exaggeration is…. The analogy is….. is.. Olympics .
  10. 10. National Debate on Gun Laws Is there Symbolis m Is there an exaggeration? Wha t is Is there an analogy? W hat is be ing compared? labe Is there irony that expresses an opinion? led? ?
  11. 11. National Debate on Gun Laws Exaggeration is…..  NRA has not silenced gun debate and you can not zip someone's lips.  A zipper is being compared censorship.  The NRA demands 2nd Amendment Rights and Freedom but wants to limit Free Speech. The symbolism is…..  Uncle Sam is symbolic of the Federal Government. The labels are…..  The lapel and the lock are labeled The analogy is……. The irony is….. .
  12. 12. Now it’s your turn!  Ready?  Look at the next slide and answer the questions. Then check to see how good you did.
  13. 13. Releasing Tax Returns for Election Is there Symbolis m Is there an exaggeration? Is there an analogy? W hat is be ing compared? Wha t is labe Is there irony that expresses an opinion? led? ?
  14. 14. Releasing Tax Returns for Election The analogy is…….  The Wind Blowing  The storm is a distraction from Romney releasing his records.  Exaggeration is….. The Republican National Convention is in Florida were hurricanes are most likely to occur also it indicates that we will never see his tax records.  The elephant represents the republican party.  Mitt’s name is on the character. The irony is….. The symbolism is….. The labels are…..
  15. 15. One more time!  This is another chance for you to try it on your own. Look at the picture first, then write down the answers. When you are done, check to see if you did better this time.
  16. 16. Bush and Obama Portrait Is there Symbolis m Is there an exaggeration? Is there an analogy? W hat is be ing compared? ? Wha t is Is there irony that expresses an opinion? labe led?
  17. 17. Bush and Obama Portrait  The size of the Bushes Ears are exaggerated.  Is that Obama is fixing problems Bush created. The irony is…..  The Irony is that some people are blaming Obama for all of America’s problems. The symbolism is…..  The portrait is a symbol of a presidents legacy. The labels are…..  The portrait is labeled. Exaggeration is….. The analogy is…….
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