Educator Resources

Analyze a Cartoon

Download the illustrated PDF version. (PDF)


Meet the cartoon.

  • Quickly scan the cartoon. What do you notice first?
  • What is the title or caption?

Observe its parts.

  • WORDS:
    • Are there labels, descriptions, thoughts, or dialogue?
    • List the people, objects, and places in the cartoon.
    • List the actions or activities.

Try to make sense of it.

  • WORDS:
    • Which words or phrases are the most significant?
    • List adjectives that describe the emotions portrayed.
    • Which of the visuals are symbols?
    • What do they stand for?
  • Who drew this cartoon?
  • When is it from?
  • What was happening at the time in history it was created?
  • What is the message? List evidence from the cartoon or your knowledge about the cartoonist that led you to your conclusion.

Use it as historical evidence.

  • What did you find out from this cartoon that you might not learn anywhere else?
  • What other documents or historical evidence are you going to use to help you understand this event or topic?

CC0Materials created by the National Archives and Records Administration are in the public domain.