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Cartoon Analysis (Essay Sample)


Providing a technical analysis of a provided cartoon drawing.

Cartoon Analysis
When it comes to political satire and comical presentation of political unfolding, Dave Granlund does a pretty good job. Dave is an American artist who is famous for his job as an opinionated cartoonist. He recently published a cartoon in his website relating to the reaction of the American congress concerning president Obama’s proposal to deploy military force to control the civil war in Syria. The artistic presentation illustrates the divisiveness of the congress concerning the presidential statement concerning Syria and Benghazi. In his recent media briefing, president Obama responded to a 2012 incident whereby an attack in Libya’s Benghazi region killed four Americans. Precisely, Granlund portrays imagery of how the congress wants Obama to execute the plan of seeking justice by deploying the military instead of using mere words. This is a successful piece of art, and it is efficacious in the sense that the artist employs persuasive symbolism as a representation of a factual occurrence.

(Provided Image)
The cartoon is a picture of the United States capitol, which is the building which houses the meetings of the national congress. In this image, Granlund illustrates two conflicting voices emerging from the congress as a whole. The use of symbolism in this image is clear, and it makes the cartoon self-explanatory to someone who follows the congress sessions. By virtue of being a common building in the minds of the Americans, it serves as a perfect symbolic representation for the artist to present his opinion. Many a times, cartoonists use a wide variety of symbols to represent an array of ideas to the target audience. However, the essence of each symbol can be interpreted differently according to the context surrounding the coded language in the image. The symbol choice in this painting is clear and does not require a lot of contextual interpretation in order to figure out the meaning which the artist intends.
This cartoon serves an efficient way of illustrating the matter at hand. It is significant to note that the publisher chose the perfect image to represent the conflict of interest following the divisiveness of the congress. In the political arena, it is extremely difficult for the American congress to stand as a unit in favour of a particular idea or proposal. Many a times, individual responses to emergent issues differ, making it difficult for any motion to be passed without opposition. Therefore, representing the congress meeting instead of individual congress members is a symbolic aspect. The artist had the independence of choosing a different image for his presentation. For instance, he could have drawn the full congress chamber full of members discussing the Syrian civil war. This way, it would have been easier to create a picture of differences in the opinion by each member, than creating an objective image. However, the artist chose to present the whole building with a valid reason. What could this reason probably be?
Granlund had to settle for a persuasive technique to present this piece of art. The sight of what captures the eyes of the audience should be compelling and he considers this aspect. In my opinion, he opts to use the whole capitol building as a symbol for unity. This is a different unity that goes deeper than the outward divisiveness caused by differences in the opinion by the congress house. He tries to imply that no matter how different the congress may appear through media channels, it is one solid body which acts as a symbol of unity to the American people.
There’s a little exaggeration in the cartoon whereby Granlund illustrates two contradicting messages coming from the same vessel. From a critical point of view, it is impossible for an opinionated object to have two divided responses at the same point in time. It is, however, clear that the difference is a representation of differences in individual voices. The use of a single vessel to represent a mass of people representing a particular quorum is a technical strategy. The exaggeration makes an independent message on its own. It signifies that, despite the differences in their response to the presidential briefing, a final decision will come up ultimately. When reporting this final decision, media houses will not claim that it was passed by a ‘certain segment of the congress.’ In the contrary, the decision will come up as a result of a reliable house of congress members.
The message in the cartoon is straight forward, and it is presented correctly. On the left hand side, there’s an illustration of a reaction from a part of the congress holding. This text is a message to president Obama asking him so stop sitting around, and start doing something concerning the Benghazi incident that happened in 2012. During the campaign periods, one year back, Obama declared that he would deploy military action in Libya, as a retaliatory signal. This followed an attack in the Benghazi region that killed four American citizens. To brush it off, Obama presented a claim to the American people that the incident was as a result of terrorist acts. For this reason, he said that the government would not sit around and let the perpetrators walk in injustice (Accountability Review Board Report for Benghazi, 2012). He promised to take a step and make sure that they were all brought to book. However, it has been a long time since Obama made that promise, and the American people are still waiting for justice. This cartoon effectively represents the voice of the families of those affected by the deadly incident. It serves as a wake-up call to the Obama administration to stop giving excuses about terrorism, and at the same time, doing nothing about it.
The second part of the message is self-explanatory, as well. The success of this piece of art is particularly enhanced by the brief nature of the encoded message. The message is correctly embedded on the right hand side of the cartoon. It is a particular response by a portion of the congress members about Obama’s proposal about the Syrian civil war. Obama proposed the deployment of military action in Syria as a way of curbing the war from tearing the country apart. As a super power, the Unites States is entitled to intervene in such cases since it has the potential manpower to make a difference...
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