Understanding a cartoon requires you to “get” the joke. The joke may be poking fun at oneself or others, at US politics, at US economic policy, at young/old people, etc. Everything in society can be the target of a joke.
An effective cartoon uses both the image and the text (the “copy” or “caption”) to help convey the meaning of the joke.
Let’s analyze one cartoon together.
Figure 1 – teacher on the first day of school
I’m going to keep in mind the rule of “show, don’t tell” as I analyze this cartoon. For example, instead of writing a mom looks under the bed, I will write that
A woman with short hair, in a bathrobe and slippers peers under the twin-size, rumpled bed. A pet mouse sits on a single bed-side table, all suggesting this is a mother looking for her child. The caption at the top reads, “Sweetie?…You have to come out. It’s the first day of school.” This reinforces the interpretation of the mother and child image. However, the second caption at the bottom reads, “No!! I refuse to go!! They can get someone else to teach my classes!” making the point that this is not a child hiding under the bed, as expected, but rather a teacher, still living with his or her mother, who is reluctant to leave the comforts of the home to go back to school. The joke is based on that unexpected revelation. While this joke relies on the unexpected revelation of the reluctant school-goer being a teacher rather than a student, it also effectively makes a point about the fact that teachers are as reluctant as students to return to school every fall.
I might use my conclusion at the end as my topic sentence, or at least a version of it.
Cartoon Analysis Paragraph: Writing Assignment # 1
Write a one-paragraph analysis in which you describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate the image in the next link of the two ships. What do you see in this cartoon? How is what you see being used in the cartoon? Consider both the image and any text. Does this cartoon make the point effectively? Hint: What flaw in our current economic policy is being cartooned?
Go to the PDF file in the link below to see the cartoon for the writing assignment.
Use a topic sentence. Be sure your paragraph flows smoothly. Conclude strongly.
Just for practice, craft a works cited page.
Figure 2 – Joe Sharpnack Cartoon
Are you kidding? How do I cite a cartoon? My 1301 teacher never taught that!
This cartoon came from:
Sharpnack, Joe. Cartoon. Literature for Writing: A Reader for Comp II. 2nd ed. Mason, Ohio: Cengage, 2015. 32.
Sources: works cited pages, unit 1.3 formatting your paper, unit 1.5 How to submit papers on e-Campus, Start Here, “Required Technical Skills”