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How to Decode a Political Cartoon

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How to Decode a Political Cartoon The Rebellions of 1837 Political Cartoons Instructions: Create a political cartoon on the Rebellions of 1837 You must invent an ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to Decode a Political Cartoon


1
How to Decode a Political Cartoon
2
Definitions
  • "political" that which is concerned with public
    affairs or government
  • "cartoon" a sketch or drawing that interests or
    amuses by portraying persons, things, political
    events or situations etc. in an exaggerated way

3
Definitions
  • SATIRE - uses humor to lower something or someone
    in the readers or viewers estimation. It is not
    mean-spirited and its point is not to harm. It
    exposes human folly to make room for improvement.

4
What are Political Cartoons?
  • Political cartoons usually appear on the
    editorial page of your daily newspaper.
  • They generally deal with events or issues
    currently in the news and are, in essence, visual
    editorials.
  • Like the writer of an editorial, the cartoonist
    is trying to make a point.
  • They are a primary source of information.

5
What are Political Cartoons?
  • When you look at a political cartoon produced
    many years ago you are seeing it out of its
    original context.
  • In order to "get it" you will likely need some
    background information from classroom discussion,
    a textbook or your own research.
  • Once you have a general idea of the topic at hand
    you can start to decode the message the
    cartoonist is trying to convey.

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Tools Used By Cartoonist
  • Exaggeration
  • Allusion
  • Analogy
  • Symbolism
  • Caricature
  • Stereotype
  • Humor
  • Personification

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  • "Ce bon Mr. Lincoln", was published in Montréal
    in 1865, during the American Civil War of
    1861-1865.

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  • Caricature is the primary technique of the
    political cartoonist, who often exaggerates an
    individual's unique characteristics to make them
    easily recognizable.
  • There is no mistaking the tall, thin, bearded
    figure of American president Abraham Lincoln
  • Viewers at the time would have no trouble
    identifying the smaller, toque-wearing figure in
    the upper right hand corner of cartoon A as the
    stereotypical French Canadian Jean-Baptiste.

10
  • Another very important technique is the use of
    analogy, in which one event is represented by
    another.
  • Lincoln (sitting on the American White House) and
    Jean-Baptiste (sitting on the Canadian Parliament
    Buildings) appear to be engaged in the childhood
    game "king of the castle" while Canadian soldiers
    stand guard on a wall separating the two
    countries.

11
CARICATURE
  • Exaggerates one or more features of a person or
    thing. It attempts to say something about the
    person/things character, beliefs, actions or
    significance.
  • Makes them easily recognizable.
  • Made Obamas ears large

12
CARICATURE
  • Facial expression and body language can be used
    as signs to communicate ideas.
  • In some cases a cartoonist may use shading to
    indicate the "good guys" (light) and the "bad
    guys" (dark).
  • Jimi Hendrix

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SYMBOL
  • Represents something else. It is a often a
    material object that represents something
    abstract or invisible (for example, the Statue of
    Liberty to represent freedom

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METAPHOR
  • Uses an object to note a similarity to something
    else.

17
John Bull (England) as an octopus of imperialism
18
IRONY
  • Expresses an idea through a contradiction between
    somethings literal meaning and the intended
    meaning. For example, picturing a U.S. president
    with a crown on his head.
  • SARCASM- is a form of irony. The element that
    turns irony into sarcasm is the appearance of
    mockery, or bitterness.

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STEREOTYPES
  • Works by taking a real or imagined trait of an
    individual to be true of the group to which the
    individual belongs. They express bias and can be
    unfair and harmful.

21
Analogy Allusions
  • Another very important technique is the use of
    analogy, in which one event is represented by
    another.
  • An allusion is understandable only to those with
    prior knowledge of the reference in question
    (which the writer assumes to be so).
  • A one-sentence or one-phrase (or image) reference
    to another event, character, etc. in the Bible,
    mythology, or current event

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Three kings follow star to Barack Obama, savior
of the Democrats.
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Darth Harper
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Captions
  • Cartoonists sometimes use words (titles,
    captions, name tags, balloon comments or
    dialogue) to help the viewer.

31
Biases
  • When you look at a political cartoon you should
    consider the biases of the cartoonist. The
    cartoonist, after all, is trying to make a point.
    When and where was the cartoon published, and in
    what type of publication? Who is portrayed in a
    favourable manner and who is not?
  • Cartoons can display a number of other biases as
    well (such as political, religious, racial or
    ethnic, vocational, economic or gender biases).

32
Decode the message by using the following method
  • Scrutinize the characters. Can you name them by
    drawing on your knowledge of local and world
    events?
  • Examine the characters' attire and other visual
    clues.
  • For example
  • facial expressions does the character's face
    convey anger, fear, intrigue etc.?complexion
    describe the character's facial appearance
    (clean-cut and shaven, scruffy etc.)body
    expression and appearance describe the
    character's physical appearance (slouched, arms
    waving frantically, small stature, broad and bold
    body etc.)attire what is the character wearing?
    (suit and tie, underwear, hats etc.)exaggeration
    of facial or physical characteristics compared
    to a photograph (e.g., chins, mouths, bulging
    eyes, long noses etc.)
  • Identify objects you see in the cartoon
    (buildings, fences, something the character is
    holding). Notice words on the objects and
    background features (sky, walls, water).
  • Discuss the main ideas expressed in the cartoon's
    text. Is there a common theme?

33
Once you have looked critically at a cartoon you
can try to interpret it.
  • In summary, when you look at a political cartoon
    you should take the following steps
  • seek out the necessary background knowledge
  • determine the issue being considered
  • study the devices the cartoonist has used
  • identify any possible biases and try to interpret
    the cartoon.
  • In short, what is the cartoon about, what
    techniques does the cartoonist use, and what does
    it all mean?
  • Once you have looked critically at a cartoon you
    can try to interpret it.

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The Rebellions of 1837Political Cartoons
  • Instructions
  • ? Create a political cartoon on the Rebellions of
    1837
  • ? You must invent an appropriate slogan and have
    captions.
  • ? You must use at least TWO devices in your
    cartoon Exaggeration, Allusion, Analogy,
    Symbolism, Metaphor, Caricature, Stereotype,
    Humor (satire), Personification
  • ? Your cartoon must include at least ONE
    Historical Figure (or reference to) from the
    Rebellions of 1837.
  • ? You need to illustrate your cartoon with fully
    coloured, hand-drawn pictures.
  • ? On the back, explain the background of your
    cartoon, and all devices that you used to create
    the cartoon.
  • Checklist for Creating Cartoons
  • Decide what aspect of the Rebellions of 1837
    that you wish to convey your message with. Give
    reasons for your decision.
  • Identify your topic Event, person etc..
  • Express your point of view and the message you
    want to convey
  • Determine what symbols are appropriate and
    historically accurate
  • Choose the words to convey your message.
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