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1. To what recent news item does the first cartoon refer?

2. A cartoonist often uses humor to illustrate a news item. What comic device does Chip Bok use to highlight this news story? Explain your answer.
a) caricature
b) satire
c) symbol
d) understatement
e) hyperbole

3. What two news stories did cartoonist Gary Varvel combine to create the second cartoon?

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

Cartoon by Chip Bok


Cartoon by Gary Varvel


1. A veteran TV weatherman – The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel  – appeared to be caught exaggerating his battle against gale-force winds during Hurricane Florence.  Seidel was seemingly battling to stay upright as he filmed a piece in North Carolina – as two pedestrians calmly strolled past in the background.

2. e) hyperbole: An extreme magnification or exaggeration of actuality. It blows something completely out of proportion for a distorted effect. The purpose of hyperbole is to create a larger-than-life effect and overly stress a specific point. (Used as a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in “I could sleep for a year” or “This book weighs a ton”). The cartoonist here is greatly exaggerating the Weather Channel reporter’s representation of the strength of the storm while reporting on Hurricane Florence.

The cartoonist did not use:

a) caricature: A description or characterization that exaggerates or distorts a character’s prominent features, usually for purposes of mockery. For example, a cartoon of a gaunt Abraham Lincoln with a giant top hat, a very scraggly beard, and sunken eyes could be considered a caricature.

b) satire – satire is defined as: the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

c) symbol: An object, character, figure, place, or color used to represent an abstract idea or concept.
Santa represents the Christmas shopping season; The turkey wearing a Pilgrim hat represents Thanksgiving and Uncle Sam represents in this case U.S. politics/presidential candidates

d) understatement: A figure of speech in which statements are purposely understated. It may be used to indicate the speaker’s nonchalance (or obliviousness) regarding an often important or otherwise remarkable situation. It often results in irony where, for instance, the speaker’s response to an event does not match how the viewer expects the speaker to react.

3. The two news stories Gary Varvel used:

  • The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel appeared to be caught faking his battle against gale-force winds during Hurricane Florence. (see our previous post –scroll down for video)
  • The different view Democratic senators have to Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings — compared to how Republican senators view the hearings.