Political Cartoons

Political Cartoons – Extra Credit #2


Political cartoons have been used for many decades to poke fun or provoke thought about individuals or

political events. Most political cartoons use caricature and satire to create humor. Caricature selects and

exaggerates a characteristic of the subject of the cartoon. Satire uses sarcasm or irony to make fun of

someone or some event.

This extra credit assignment requires you to analyze 2 political cartoons. I have provided additional

information on analyzing political cartoons below. Your final write-up should be 300 – 500 words in

length. Please cut and paste the cartoon (or link directly to cartoon) in your write up. Although you are

free to select any cartoon you wish, a good compilation of political cartoons can be found at:


Answering the following questions about each cartoon:

1. List the objects and people in the cartoon.

2. Are symbols present within the cartoon?

3. What do the symbols represent?

4. What caption or title has been selected for the cartoon?

5. What dates or numbers are present?

6. What words of phrases in the cartoon are most important? Why?

7. List the adjectives that describe the emotions portrayed in the cartoon.

8. Describe the action taking place in the cartoon.

9. How do the words used in the cartoon clarify the symbols?

10. What issue is this political cartoon about?

11. What message has the artist attempted to portray?

12. What is the cartoonist’s opinion on this issue?

13. What other opinion can you imagine another person having on this issue?

14. Did you find this cartoon persuasive? Why or why not?

15. What other techniques could the cartoonist have used to make this cartoon more persuasive?

***Although these are listed as questions, please write an essay that incorporates this information for

each cartoon.



Cartoon Analysis Guide


(From: It’s No Laughing Matter – Analyzing Political Cartoons Available from

http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/political_cartoon/cag.html )



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.


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.


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 clearer?



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 clearly to you.



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?

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