General Suggestions for Analyzing a Cartoon



Level 3:
1. List the objects you see in the cartoon.






1. Identify the cartoon and/or title.
2. Locate three words or phrases used by the cartoonist to identify objects or people within the cartoon. (Not all cartoons include words.)
3. Record any important dates or numbers that appear in the cartoon.
Level 2:
2. Which of the objects on your list are symbols?
3. What do you think each of the symbols means?
4. Which words or phrases in the cartoon appear to be the most significant? Why do you think so? (not all cartoons incude words.)
Level 1:


A. Describe the action taking place in the cartoon.
B. In your own words, explain how the words in the cartoon explain or clarify the symbols.
C. What techniques or devices does the cartoon use? Symbolism? Ridicule? Caricature? Metaphor? Satire? Puns? Other? (describe)
D. In your own words, explain the message of the cartoon.
E. State your own opinion on the issue.
F. What special interest groups would agree/disagree with the cartoon's message? Why?


Other suggestions for student activities:


  • Collect several political cartoons and make a cartoon booklet. Use the chart presented here to analyze the elements.
  • Design a cartoon that illustrates your opinion on a specific issue of interest to you.
  • Compare and contrast a political cartoon with one of your favorite comic strips. What are the differences in symbols, characters, and messages of each?