Uploaded by goenkamiraya

Cartoon humour analysis

‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’, everyday this ubiquitous phrase becomes more like a social status symbol rather
than an environmental movement. With the proliferation of social media images showcasing reusable straws
and bags, performative environmentalism has become increasingly common. Similarly, this cartoon delves
on the act of performative environmentalism through ironic humor by commenting on the discrepancy
between one’s claimed environmental consciousness and their actual actions. The cartoon employs
situational irony to critique the superficiality of pseudo-environmentalism in the current social context in an
ironic yet comedic way. This is done to spark reflection upon the general public urging them to strive towards
more genuine environmentalism. To do so, the humorous text highlights the need for personal responsibility
in reducing environmental impact, the rise of performative environmentalism as a result of societal pressure
and the need for systemic change to address the problem of plastic waste by using a variety of stylistic and
humor devices.
To start off, the need for personal responsibility in reducing environmental impact is brought out through
techniques such as symbolism and exaggeration. Firstly, the bag being carried by the shopper with a
recycling symbol exemplifies the imperative for every human to take small measures for the environment.
The shopper, depicted in basic clothing with no striking features, is portrayed as the general public, thereby
rendering the reusable bag a symbol of every person's personal responsibility. The luminous green of the
bag along with the recycling symbol accentuates the significance of the bag; as green is a color most
commonly associated with the environment while the symbol is known to represent the process of recycling
itself, hence epitomizing the act of reducing plastic waste. The amalgamation of these elements serves to
emphasize the importance of individual actions in reducing environmental impact by taking small measures
such as using reusable bags among others. The use of exaggeration further underscores this idea with the
shopping cart of overflowing plastic. The exaggerated image, which is not typically seen in a shopper's cart,
drives home the point that a single individual's plastic consumption can contribute to a substantial amount of
plastic waste. The portrayal of multiple plastic cups, plates, and other paraphernalia draws attention to the
fact that every individual must be accountable for their plastic usage.
Following the idea of personal responsibility, the cartoon then brings out the subsequent rise of performative
environmentalism as a result of societal pressure through the use of techniques such as typography and
juxtaposition. The shopper's deliberate emphasis on having her "own" bag in the bold and large font
underscores her attempt to showcase her environmentally conscious behavior in a performative manner to
those around her, thereby emphasizing the role of societal pressure in influencing individual behavior. The
bold font used help highlight her attempt at emphasizing she got her own reusable bag while she continues
to contribute to plastic waste, depicting her performative environmentalism. Her performative
environmentalism is clearly identified through the use of juxtaposition. The juxtaposition is apparent between
the shopper's behavior and the abundance of plastic waste in the shopping cart. By holding a recycling bag
while mentioning she has to “do her part for the environment” while also seen buying a large cart of plastic
items, the cartoon brings out the juxtaposition and dichotomy between the shopper's performative
environmentalism and her actual behavior.
While the need for individual responsibility and actions is also brought out, the need for system change to
address the problem of plastic waste is also being addressed through the use of perspective and a lexical
field. The cartoon's use of perspective provides a visual cue that highlights the larger systemic issues at
play; by depicting the many plastic items in the racks of the supermarket in the foreground, the cartoon
highlights that the issue of plastic waste is not just limited to individual actions, but is deeply embedded in
the system itself. By keeping these items in the foreground, the cartoon establishes the setting while also
elucidating the impression that plastic waste is omnipresent and pervasive in modern consumerism.
Additionally, the use of a lexical field including terms such as “environment”, “recycling” and “reusable bag”
create a cohesive theme and bring out the underlying message that there needs to be a shift in the way we
consume goods in order to address the issue of plastic waste. By using a cohesive lexical field, the cartoon
not only brings attention to the problem of plastic waste, but also provides a framework for potential
solutions that address the issue at a systemic level.
In conclusion, the need for personal responsibility in reducing environmental impact, the rise of performative
environmentalism as a result of societal pressure and the need for system change to address the problem of
plastic waste are all brought from the cartoon. By effectively using visual and linguistic techniques such as
perspective, juxtaposition and a lexical field, the cartoon not only highlights the issue of plastic waste, but
also sheds light on the complex interplay of individual behavior, societal expectations and systemic change
in a lighthearted yet comedic manner.