irony in editorial cartoons

One method cartoonists use to convey a message is exaggeration. Sometimes cartoonists overdo, or
exaggerate, the physical characteristics of people or things in order to make a point. When you
study a cartoon, look for any characteristics that seem overdone or overblown. (Facial characteristics
and clothing are some of the most commonly exaggerated characteristics.) Then, try to decide what
point the cartoonist was trying to make through exaggeration.
For example, cartoonists often draw people and things as overly large or overly small to indicate
importance and power…or the lack thereof. Cartoonists often use light and dark to show good and
evil – often exaggerating these connections – with ‘good’ people shown as angels or ‘bad’ people
shown as devils.
Using the questions on this paper, analyze the cartoon below. Write detailed, thorough answers to
each question. You may write your answers on the back of this handout or on separate paper.
1. Look closely at the pictures and words. List the details in the pictures that you need to recognize
in order to understand the cartoon.
2. What do you need to know about political issues to fully appreciate the exaggeration in this toon?
3. The cartoonist wants to make you laugh but also wants to convey a social and political message.
A) What is the cartoonist’s opinion about nuclear power? B) What does the cartoonist believe
about the reaction of the US to Iran’s attempt to obtain and use nuclear technology? C) Is this
true today?
4. Cartoonists often use more than one artistic device to communicate their ideas. A)
Define “irony.” B) What is ironic about what President George W. Bush is saying to
Iran and how is this irony emphasized by the exaggeration the cartoonist has used?
5. Come up with an example of effective exaggeration that could be used in CURRENT editorial
cartoons. Draw it on the back of this paper. Alternatively, print two CURRENT political
cartoons that have used exaggeration to great effect and attach them to this paper. Regardless
of which option you choose, for each cartoon, explain how the artist has used symbolism to
emphasize their political ideas effectively. Write your answers either below or on the back of
each cartoon. You may use additional paper, if necessary.