Understanding Tone in GAMSAT Cartoon Questions

If someone approaches you shouting and cursing it is probably safe to say that they have an angry or aggressive tone of voice. In literature a writer needs to be able to convey that tone via a selection of literary devices, punctuation and a careful choice of words. Understanding the tone is an integral part of solving the GAMSAT cartoon questions; once you have managed to recognise the tone, a lot of the cartoon actually falls into place and you’re halfway done.

So What is a Tone?

The tone of a cartoon reveals the mindset of the artist, his/her views on the topic portrayed and also the basic theme of the scenario. When analysing the GAMSAT cartoon questions, look for the tone to understand how you are supposed to view the situation; this will help especially if the topic portrayed is an unfamiliar one.

Tones to Look for in GAMSAT Cartoon Questions

The tone of the cartoon can be serious, gloomy, positive or negative. Usually, these are the few tones that predominantly feature in cartoons, and you are expected to recognise:

  • Satire
  • Humor
  • Irony
  • Amusement
  • Sorrow
  • Accusation
  • Didactic
  • Reflective

Tips for Analysing Tone in GAMSAT Cartoon Questions

  • Note the setting of the cartoon. Where are the characters situated? 
  • If some object/ animal has been anthropomosphised, what is that object?
  • What is the expression on the characters?
  • What is the caption?
  • If there is speech, what are they saying?
  • What is the attitude of the characters?

The basic idea behind solving GAMSAT cartoon questions is to look at the choice of words, punctuation to add meaning etc. and be prepared to layer on the meaning given by the drawing itself. Drawing is great for conveying tone as with a cartoon it is one of the few ways the artist has of scene setting, so this leaves little room for ambiguity. Look especially for signs of discomfort (or happiness, but good news is rare after all!) Ominous weather in the background,scenes of war, poverty etc. ,the tone is possibly the simplest part to find in the cartoon jigsaw.

All said and done, however, do remember that answers to the GAMSAT cartoon questions are not always cut and dried, and the atmosphere in the cartoon might actually be misleading about the tone; in such circumstances, the creator is probably trying to heighten some sense of irony through exaggeration. In such situations, it is best to rely on your gut feeling and sense of proportionality. 

Image source: abc.net.au

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