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1. A cartoonist often uses humor to illustrate a news item. What comic device does the cartoonist use to highlight this news story?

a) caricature
b) satire
c) symbol
d) understatement
e) hyperbole

2. To what news item does this cartoon refer?

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

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez


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

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.

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.

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”)

2. This cartoon refers to the Obama administration’s assertion that Muslims who become ISIS terrorists do so in part because of a lack of job opportunities in their countries.

(On Feb. 16, in an interview on the conflict with the Islamic State, State Department deputy spokesman Marie Harf told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups. Whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs, whether…”

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blizer the following day Mr. Blitzer asked: Just to be precise I want to give you a chance to respond to some of the critics who have been out there. You say it’s important to find these guys jobs so they don’t become terrorists. Explain what you meant.

Marie Harf replied: Where there are places around the world where there’s a lack of governance, a lack of economic opportunity. President George W. Bush talked about poverty being one of the drivers leading people to extremism. Where they are lacking in these kinds of opportunities, we need to talk about how to make that different, how to help our partners around the world give young men in that vulnerable age group a different path in life. Show them that there’s a different chance for them than joining a terrorist organization.)