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EIU Teaching with Primary Sources

Cartoon Analysis

cartoon header

The use of political and editorial cartoons in the classroom can have multiple benefits. One of the wonderful qualities is the fact that they can be used to develop skills used in language arts (language use), art (cartooning techniques) and social studies (political and popular events and individuals).

Similar to It's No Laughing Matter found in the Presentations and Activities section of the Teacher's Page, the political cartoons to be analyzed here are completely interactive. You can drag and drop the persuasive techniques used in political cartoons onto their instance in the cartoon. The instance area will highlight when you have the correct technique over it. The cartoon analysis is built using Adobe Flash technology, so you will need Flash player installed to use the analysis. You will need the at least version 8 of Flash Player.

We chose to focus on these five common persuasive techniques used by cartoonists: exaggeration, labeling, symbolism, analogy, and irony. Here is a brief explanation of each technique:

  • Exaggeration - Cartoonists will overdo physical characteristics of people or things in order to make a point.

  • Labeling - Objects or people are often labeled by cartoonists to make it clear exactly what they stand for.

  • Symbolism - Objects are used to stand for larger concepts or ideas.

  • Analogy - Cartoonists will 'draw' a comparison between two unlike things.

  • Irony - The difference between the way things are and the way things should be.

On to the Cartoons...

On the linked pages you will find four different cartoons to look at. To begin click here for the FIRST CARTOON. We have provided an explanation of the persuasive techniques with each cartoon to help out. If you would like to download a cartoon analysis form it can be used to analyze other cartoons available through American Memory or in print and web media today.

Cartoon Home - Cartoon One - Cartoon Two - Cartoon Three - Cartoon Four

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