Writing Assignment: Comic Strip or Political Cartoon Analysis
You are required to submit the FINAL copy of this assignment, but you may first submit an optional
DRAFT. This will allow you to receive qualitative feedback that can inform your revision. You should
always avoid focusing solely on the grader’s DRAFT feedback; use the feedback as a supplement to the
course lessons and your own revision ideas. Always expect to revise beyond what the DRAFT grader
You have two options for this assignment:
Option #1: Analysis of an Individual Comic Strip or Political Cartoon
Choose one comic strip or political cartoon. If you visit the website of a newspaper such as The
Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc., you should be able to search
for comic strips or political cartoons easily.
Which techniques does the creator of the comic strip use? How does the creator make
his/her point in the comic strip? What do we learn about the characters and/or ourselves
from this comic strip or political cartoon? If colors are available, what do they tell us about
this comic or cartoon? What language is used and how can that be interpreted?
And importantly, which of the key terms from the topic lesson can you discuss in your
analysis? For example, how do elements of imagery, symbolism, metaphor, and/or irony help
reveal the cartoon’s message?
As with all academic essays you write in this course, this essay should have a well-defined
introduction with a thesis statement, body, and conclusion.
In essence, what are some of the physical elements present in the cartoon1—characters,
text, colors, etc., along with figurative elements such as metaphor and symbolism, that help
to explain the cartoon’s message? It can be helpful to focus on a single element in the
cartoon in its own body paragraph (include the element in the topic sentence and in the
thesis) and describe how it portrays the cartoon’s message before moving to the next
cartoon feature in a new paragraph.
Sample Thesis Statement: “John Smith uses (add one element from the cartoon), (add a
second element from the cartoon), and (add a third element from the cartoon) to show (add
the cartoon’s message).”
Option #2: Analysis of Multiple Comic Strips or Political Cartoons
1 A successful analysis will go beyond the obvious, literal elements of the cartoon and will analyze figurative
elements, too. Use the course topic lessons to inform your analysis.
Choose two political cartoons or comic strips created by the same person. Which techniques
does the creator of the political cartoons use? How does the creator make his/her point in
the political cartoons? Which characters, if any, are present in both political cartoons? What
do we learn about the characters and/or ourselves from these political cartoons? How does
the language transmit the creator’s message? Using a comparison or contrast mode of
development, draw conclusions about the techniques the author uses in the political
cartoons and how they apply to our lives. As with all academic essays you write in this
course, this essay should have a well-defined introduction with a thesis statement, body,
Use the point by point or subject by subject structure to compare and contrast about three to five
elements found in the cartoons that help to explain how they apply to our lives or to a message
present in today’s society. After you compare and contrast in each paragraph, be sure to explain the
message those elements and the cartoons help to depict.
Sample Thesis Statement: “John Smith’s cartoon strips Cartoon 1 and Cartoon 2 use (add one
element from the cartoon), (add a second element from the cartoon), and (add a third element from
the cartoon) to explain (add the cartoons’ message).”
Be sure to document the cartoon or comic strip on a Works Cited page. Please visit the following
source for citing an electronic image: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
The guidelines for this assignment are as follows:
Length: This assignment should be at least 500 words.
Header: Include a header in the upper left-hand corner of your writing assignment with the
Your first and last name
Course Title (Composition II)
Assignment name (i.e, Cartoon Analysis)
MLA-style source documentation and Works Cited2
Your last name and page number in the upper-right corner of each page
2 This resource may be helpful as you are making MLA formatting decisions:
Standard font (TimesNewRoman, Calibri)
Title, centered after heading
1” margins on all sides
Save the file using one of the following extensions: .docx, .doc, .rtf, or .txt
Underline your thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.