What is the Artist Trying to Convey?
The GAMSAT cartoon vignette is mostly taken from newspapers and periodicals; as such, it is usually of a political or social nature. On the other hand, cartoons that depict the complexity of modern human relationships and behavior are also present.
Remember that the original publication of the cartoon was more than likely a newspaper or magazine. Its purpose is to convey the editorial opinion in a unique and perhaps whimsical way; it’s not there to confuse but add to the journalist’s agenda.
Is There Bias?
If you look at many of the cartoons published in the Commonwealth around the World War II era it’s not hard to see some great examples of bias. With political figures from the Axis shown with fangs, horns etc. it’s not hard to see which slant the newspaper editors had. With modern cartoons, the communication of opinion might not be as regular or as direct as this, so you might need to think a little but more and look for more subtle clues in the sketch.
How to Recognise Bias
So, in GAMSAT, if you can recognise the political/social context of the cartoon, it will become easy to interpret the same. For this, it is advisable that you keep yourself well-versed with the major political and social changes on a global scale, and stay up-to-date with the current affairs as well.
Of course, the upside is that the cartoons present in the GAMSAT paper mostly deal with major events, so you don’t really have to be an ardent student of history or the political sciences to crack the questions. Moreover, the question comes with all the relevant information.
Take special note of certain aspects when you analyse a cartoon:
- Be on a sharp lookout for details
- Every cartoon has a message to convey
- Facial features and other details
- Semblance to other creatures
- Labels or names
- Accompanying quote/passage
Finally, think of the motivations behind the cartoon. You might even recognise the drawing as coming from a very biased newspaper, say one that has always had a stance against Chinese boat migrants. If the cartoon vilifies these migrants and portrays them in a manner that just verges on libel, you can be certain that the cartoonist subscribes to the agenda of this particular newspaper, whether they are political or financial. You might not know exactly what the agenda is, but is you are aware of the fact that there might be one, it will allow a much better interpretation of any questions that follow.