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May 24

Analyzing Political and Editorial Cartoons

Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010 in Practice Test Synthesis Questions, Satire

                                                 

                                                           Analyzing Political and Editorial Cartoons

Use these directions for any cartoon that seems to have a serious message and/or
attempts to persuade its audience. Note that this includes, but is not limited to, so-called editorial cartoons. 

 

I. VISUAL ELEMENTS:
      1. As with any picture, examine the individual details and their relationship to each other and to the whole. When reading a picture, consider:
                A. Things in the foreground

B. Things in the background
                C. The focus
                D. Juxtapositions

     2. Cartoons often use:
                A. Stereotypes
                B. Caricatures
                C. Universal symbols
     3. “Political” cartoons are often satirical. Ask yourself the following questions about cartoonist’s purpose:
                 A. What is the cartoonist’s stance? What does the cartoonist want to correct by ridicule?
                B. If  you think there is Split Point of View between the cartoonist and one or more characters in the cartoon, identify all of

                    them.
                C. What visual elements in the cartoon represent the satiric victims? Explain.
                D. Point out the visual equivalents of satiric devices used in the cartoon.
II. VERBAL ELEMENTS: Titles, dialogue, labels & captions
    4. Analyze words are used within the cartoon (dialogue or labels)
                A. For dialogue, who is the speaker? For labels, what is labeled?
                B. Explain the multiple levels of meaning — be especially alert for irony.
                C. How do these words connect to the cartoonist’s argument (his position or proposition)?  

  5. Analyze words appear outside the cartoon (title or caption).
                A. Explain the connection between the title or caption and the cartoon itself.
                 B. What message is conveyed by it? (Don’t forget .implied or hidden messages)
                C. How does the title or caption contribute to the overall meaning of the cartoon?
                 D. How does it contribute to the persuasive purpose (the argument) of the cartoon?

  6. Satiric techniques
                A. Point out satiric techniques in all the verbal elements of the cartoon.

                B. Other rhetorical techniques, such as repetition for emphasis & (connotation, can  also be used to create satire.  

                                 Point out examples of general rhetorical techniques in your cartoon.
III. ARGUMENT
7.  Most “political” cartoons are really persuasive in purpose.

A. What issue is addressed by the cartoon?

8. Most political cartoons take a position on an issue

A. What is the cartoonist’s position on this issue?

B. What does the cartoonist want to correct?

C. How is it conveyed, visually or verbally?

D. Is there is a stated or implied proposition, what is it?
E. How is it conveyed, visually or verbally?

9. Most political cartoons use appeals to ethos, pathos or logos, visual or verbal.

A. Point out other persuasive appeals that are used. 

B.. For each appeal, explain whether you think it is used ethically to persuade or unethically to manipulate the audience.

 10. Most cartoonist attempt to establish empathy? NOTE: If there are characters in the cartoon, the audience may feel empathy for them rather than ‘or the cartoonist.

A. How does the cartoonist attempt to establish empathy?
B. In satire, a writer or cartoonist may deliberately create antipathy for a character or persona who represents the opposing position on the issue. This can be seen as a form of irony.
 If you think this is happening in your cartoon, explain what visual and verbal elements create it.

IV. SUMMARY AND EVALUATION
11. Good  readers automatically summarize and evaluate the cartoon’s meaning

A. Summarize the argument behind the cartoon.
                B. Evaluate the cartoon’s effectiveness, both as satire and as persuasion.
                C. Explain why the cartoon is ethical (persuasive) or manipulative.        (From “Reading a Picture”) 

 

Open the following file which includes the guidelines above and some cartoons for you to analyze. 

 

 Analyzing Political and Editorial Cartoons

 

Here is another website that we will look at for more practice.  Follow teacher assignments given in class. 

http://www.lincolnlogcabin.org/education-kits/Abraham-Lincoln-Lesson-Plans/Lesson-5.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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