We all love Cartoons! The first page most of us turn to while reading a newspaper is the comics’ page. But, you may never have thought that you will be reading one during the GAMSAT and be tested upon it. Well… GAMSAT is full of surprises! Section 1 of the GAMSAT paper always has a few MCQs based on a cartoon. The amusing cartoons may be followed by tricky questions. So how do you deal with them?
When you look at the cartoon, try to infer these in your head:
• What is the cartoon about?
• What methods has the cartoonist used to emphasise on the main issue?
• What symbols, if any, are used and what do they symbolise?
• Do you agree with the cartoonist’s view on the issue?
Make it a habit to try and answer such questions each time you see a cartoon. Discuss it with your friends…have a laugh and share thoughts. It is a great way to prepare for the cartoon based MCQs for GAMSAT.
Let’s look at Analogy
Have you ever thought about exactly what kind of cartoons come for the GAMSAT?
GAMSAT MCQs are mostly based on editorial cartoons. Editorial cartoons are different from other cartoons that simply evoke laughter. Editorial cartoons always persuade the reader to THINK. The cartoonist uses them to make a point about a particular idea or issue. The first technique cartoonists often use is making an analogy between things. Let’s look at the two cartoons below:
The first cartoon above makes an analogy between earth and the popular nursery rhyme character Humpty Dumpty. We all know of how he “sat on a wall, and had a great fall…and couldn’t be put together again”. By using a popular and lighthearted nursery rhyme to deal with a serious issue like global environment, the cartoonist at once catches our attention and makes his point: earth’s destruction is an irreversible process.
In the second cartoon, the cartoonist critiques man’s materialism and apathy towards serious problems like preservation of the environment. While the agenda of the meeting is to ensure that the climatic balance of the earth is maintained, one man still questions, quite concernedly, whether the effort is worth it. Clearly extremely materialistic, the man makes it absolutely clear that doing their own bit to preserve the environment would be justified only if the environment is, in any way, adversely affected.
Using analogy is just one of the tricks in the cartoonist’s bag. But you see how effective it is in putting forth his opinion. It has an instant connection with the readers. It is easy to understand as it deals with something familiar. So, keep reading cartoons and analysing them…but most importantly, don’t forget to have a laugh!
Go on, laugh.
And now time for some Symbolism
What Exactly is a Symbol?
A symbol is something that represents something else, either by association or by resemblance.* For instance, the rose has commonly been regarded as a symbol of beauty. Cartoonists often employ symbolism in more subtle ways to make their point. Knowing how they do this will help you in analysing cartoons more effectively during GAMSAT.
Let’s see an example:
- This is cartoonist David Low’s precise depiction of the results of appeasement.
- Using the “spineless leaders of democracy” as stepping stones, Hitler marches towards his final destination.
- Here, each of the national leaders symbolises or represents democracy. As we all know, Hitler too has gone on to become an iconic symbol of despotism.
- By portraying Hitler, a figure of terror and militarism, in a nose thumbing posture, the cartoonist invites you not only to laugh but also further emphasises the stark gravity of the situation during the world wars. It was chaos and mayhem all over the world during those times.
- Symbolism is using a concrete picture or concept to represent something abstract.
- If you keep a track of global politics down the ages as well as history, you will get the humour in this cartoon. This makes it important that you are up to date with current affairs, not just local news but also international, for GAMSAT Section I questions.
Cartoonists use symbolism to a double advantage as they get the creative freedom to depict controversial issues, people and organisations in a not-so-flattering manner without being called to the bar for it.
Editorial cartoons are often accompanied by a few lines of text describing people or things. Make sure you read the ‘fine print’ in a cartoon carefully during the GAMSAT in order to get a clear idea of what the cartoonist is trying to say. Hope you found some help on how to deal with questions based on cartoons found in Section I of the GAMSAT paper.