A political cartoon is a drawing that uses symbols and images to communicate a message. Some cartoons use words as well, but the image is the focus of a good cartoon. Political cartoons have a long history in newsprint and especially in the United States. There are political cartoons that were drawn during the American Revolution that are still used to communicate messages to this day.
As a member of the 45th Division News and Stars and Stripes, Sgt. Bill Mauldin drew cartoons about the life of the average soldier on the front line. These cartoons were able to communicate to the public the life of a soldier better than written reporting. They also helped soldiers have a laugh during hard times and keep up a good morale. Here is an example of one of Sgt. Mauldin’s cartoons:
Take a look at this image and then answer some questions about it.
- What do you see in this image?
- How does this image make you feel?
- Can you tell what the message is? Hint: S-2 is the army designation for Military Intelligence Officer in a unit.
- What parts of the cartoon tell you what the message is?
- Try drawing your own cartoon on this page. If you like, use this message as a guide:
Frontline soldiers don’t always get enough sleep.
Here is Sgt. Mauldin’s cartoon conveying that same message:
What is different about your drawing? What is the same?