Analysis of a Political Cartoon
The purpose of this assignment is to have you perform an analysis of a piece of visual rhetoric; to experiment with pre-writing techniques; to work with crafting an effective thesis statement and selecting relevant details to support general conclusions; to focus on writing engaging introductions and conclusions; to consider questions of voice, audience, and purpose; to work with selecting and integrating appropriate strategies of development; to experiment with different revision processes; and, overall, to move toward a persuasive academic writing style (the revision process will be forthcoming later in the semester for this particular assignment).
Cartoons can often sum up a worldview in a single image. Choose a political cartoon that discusses a controversial issue that seems suitable for a 4-5 page analysis. Consider the rhetorical strategies that the cartoon uses to produce its argument. What mini-narrative does your cartoon convey? What is the cartoon arguing? How does the cartoon use caricature, exaggeration, or distortion to convey its perspective? How effective is the cartoon?
Reread Chapter 4. Then do a pre-write of your political cartoon (you can find one anywhere on the net, newspaper, news journal). Answer the questions (A Checklist for Analyzing Political Cartoons) on page 160, which should provide an excellent foundation for your paper. Write a persuasive interpretation of a cartoon, considering the context, description and analysis of both its message and the cultural reality it reflects/creates. Be sure you consider the assumptions underlying the texts, questions of materiality, layout, audience and purpose. Make sure you simply do not only “identify” pathos, logos, and ethos in your text. These devices should help to inform your analysis (along with the other material on pp 158-160), and allow you to explore the underlying political connotations associated with your cartoon. Simply identifying is not enough—you need to ask yourself how they help the reader understand the artist’s main argument.
Paragraph 1: Introduce the cartoonist, the medium, the kairotic moment and write a compelling thesis (why this cartoon is effective)
Paragraph 2: Description of the cartoon
Paragraph 3: The use of symbolism
Paragraph 4: The use of pathos
Paragraph 5: Final evaluation and so what?
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