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Propaganda and Political
Analyzing the images
Define the
Political: that
which is concerned
with public affairs
or government
a sketch or drawing
that interests or
Therefore: a political
amuses by
cartoon is a sketch
portraying persons,
or drawing concerned
things, political
with public affairs or
events or situations
government issues
etc. in an
exaggerated way
What is the purpose of a political
To convey a
point of view
about a
individual or
What significant
individual or
issue could the
artist be
What is the
message of the
Step 1: Establish a knowledge
Why is establishing a knowledge
base important?
Political cartoons in newspapers
today may make immediate sense,
but the context needs to be
considered in looking at cartoons
from the past
Political cartoons cannot be
understood without establishing the
Is the context enough?
 From just looking
at the individuals,
could you come up
with a time
 How did you come
up with your time
 If you only knew
that the time
period was WWII
could you
understanding this
Step 2: Identifying the Issue
 Knowing what you
do about Germany
and Russia, what is
the issue?
 What is the artist
 The Nazi-Soviet
Pact; Germany and
Russia will not
remain allies
Step 3: Determine the devices
used by the cartoonist
In groups of five, take the
descriptions and political cartoons
and match them up.
Which device best explains the
political cartoon you are looking at?
Cartoon A
Symbols: The
Symbols of the
Grim Reaper to
represent death
Cartoon B
Analogy: The Prime
Minister as the
captain of a sinking
ship is an analogy
for the declining
popularity of the
political party
Cartoon C
Caricature: The
exaggerates the
characteristics to
make it clear the
individual is
Cartoon D
Facial Expression:
It is evident that
Hitler is worried
and that his army
is shouting at him
from their facial
expressions and
body language
Cartoon E
Words: Without
the words, we
would not know
that the cartoonist
was discussing the
issue of racism in
the United States
Step 4: Identify the Cartoonist’s
What is a bias?
A slanted or prejudiced attitude that
can prevent people from presenting
evidence clearly and truthfully
Step 4: Identifying the Bias
What are the potential bias a political cartoonist could
National/Regional/Local Bias
Political Bias
Religious Bias
Racial/Ethnic Bias
Economic Bias
Gender Bias
Personal Values
Step 4: Identify the Cartoonist’s
Political cartoonists present a point of view
that has often been shaped by many
influences. They tend to portray issues in
extreme: bad is very bad, and good is very
When examining a political cartoon you
need to watch for bias.
You Try It!
 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 (cleancut 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).
 Using all of this information, identify the issue and what the
message is.