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Which three of the following comic devices does cartoonist Stephan Pastis use in this Pearls cartoon? Explain your answer.

a) personification
b) pun
c) onomatopoeia
d) sarcasm
e) parody
f) exaggeration
g) irony


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.

Cartoon by Stephan Pastis


a) personification – a figure of speech in which human characteristics are attributed to an abstract quality, animal, or inanimate object (Goat and Pig are animals with human characteristics)

b) pun – a play on words that uses the similarity in sound between two words with distinctly different meanings (apples)

g) irony – when the opposite of what you expect to happen occurs (You expect Pig to show Goat his latest electronics purchase from the Apple electronics store; instead he shows Goat his purchase of apples from the grocery store)

The cartoonist did not use:

c) onomatopoeia, which is the creation of words that imitate natural sounds (buzz and hiss are examples of onomatopoeia)

d) sarcasm – a form of verbal (or visual) irony in which it is obvious from context and tone that the speaker means the opposite of what he or she says

e) parody – known by also as a spin-off or spoof, a parody is an imitation of another’s work, usually in a humorous way to poke fun at the original work. Usually, for a better effect, a parody makes fun of a famous or well-known piece of work, so the audience has a better chance of recognizing the original.

f) exaggeration – to think of or describe something as larger or greater than it really is