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Analysing a picture/cartoon (2)


Task

Describe, interpret and comment on the following cartoon.

Analysing a picture/cartoon (2) - Abbildung 1

(From: Geoff Tibballs, The Mammoth Book of the Funniest Cartoons of All Times, London 2006)

Solution

The cartoon is taken from Geoff Tibballs’ “The Mammoth Book of the Funniest Cartoons of All Times”, which was published in London in 2006. It depicts a rural scenery with a slightly hilly landscape. In the foreground, dominating the right half of the cartoon, there is a cottage, which is half visible. It is surrounded by a stone wall, and possesses a little garden up front. In this garden, there is a man and a woman. The woman is faceing the man, and her facial expression shows discontentment or maybe discomfort as the corners of her mouth are pointing down and her eyes appear to be wide open. The man is depicted from the side, looking through binoculars as he faces another cottage, which is situated in the background of the cartoon on the left side. There is a truck, presumably a moving truck, parked to the right of this cottage. The caption of the cartoon says: “Oh my God! The new neighbors, they’ve got a telescope!” This statement can be attributed to the man looking through the binoculars, and thus the punch line is established. It is clearly an allusion to the biblical saying that one should not concentrate on the speck of dust in one’s brother’s eye when there is a plank in one’s own eye. In a more modern context, this can be interpreted in many different ways: It can be seen as a critical comment on the lack of social contact or skills in modern society, where direct interaction with other people does not take place anymore, and is instead replaced by virtual contact. In this case, the binoculars represent modern media. At the same time it might be an allusion to the hypocrisy of people who are always quick to judge others for an alleged behavior that they are guilty of themselves.  

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