Political Cartoon Analysis - 'Four Big Pigs'

March 27, 2013
By HayleyF SILVER, Duingal, Other
HayleyF SILVER, Duingal, Other
8 articles 0 photos 3 comments

“Four big pigs”, a political cartoon by cartoonist Sean Leahy, published on December 8th 2011 in the Courier Mail, powerfully depicts Leahy’s viewpoint of the government’s attempts to have authority over the four banks – Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB. The context behind this cartoon, as briefly stated previously, elaborates on the meetings held between these four banks, and how the government tries to contribute their opinions on the increase, or decrease, of interest. The cartoonist effectively criticised the target -Wayne Swan – treasurer of the labour party, through the use of symbolism, caricature and tone. While doing so, Leahy positions the audience to apprehend his perception of the banks and how they can be overpowering.

Symbolism is used meritoriously throughout “Four big pigs” to convey the overall message of the cartoon. Initially, the four big pigs in this picture symbolise the very powerful and greedy banks - Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB. The pigs in this picture are depicted as being hefty and tough, therefore stating that these four banks are meticulously alike. As well as this, the cartoonist has publicised Wayne Swan as being a ‘big bad wolf’ which is taken from the children’s story “The Three Little Pigs”. He is depicted as being a big bad wolf through his stance and what he is saying. For example, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff! And I’ll huff and I’ll puff!” Additionally, the brick house in this cartoon, occupied by the four big pigs, is well known as being indestructible in the old fairy-tale. This symbolises that no matter how hard the government tries, or how many times it is attempted, they will never have any authority or power over these banks.
Furthermore, the uses of caricature play a large role in the effectiveness of this cartoon. Wayne Swan is caricaturised as having a large forehead, making him look fuming and unkind, and his possession of a large mouth makes the cartoon not only hilarious, but it also shows that he is striving for control over the banks through what he is shouting. In addition, the four big pigs in this cartoon are also caricaturised. Instead of being regular sized pigs, the cartoonist has excellently made the pigs look angry, tough and greedy by drawing them quite oversized. The four pigs are squeezed together in the cartoon, making out that they are a tough ‘pack’. These uses of caricature strongly contribute to Leahy’s message of how the banks can be overpowering.
The tone of this cartoon is effective and assists in conveying the cartoonist’s message. The cartoonist has successfully shown his attitude through the use of tone in this cartoon, by making the whole image humorous yet bitter and mocking. Leahy portrayed the banks as being greedy, selfish pigs, which is bitter all on its own. To add to his bitterness, he stated that the banks are so egotistic and covetous, that they must be placed into a brick house, to show just how indestructible the banks are. Leahy also conveyed his bitter message by showing that, continuously, the government tried to ‘huff and puff’ their way into having authority over the banks, yet failed over and over again.
All in all, the mixture of symbolism, caricature and tone successfully depicts how the government has no authority over these banks. The cartoonist was efficacious in conveying his perspective, by positioning the audience well through his many uses of techniques throughout his cartoon.

The author's comments:
This is an assignment I wrote in grade ten. I'm in grade eleven now, and looking back at it, I realise it could be better. However, I decided to post it here anyway for the purpose of feedback and possibly educating somebody.

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This article has 1 comment.

molly101 said...
on Jun. 7 2016 at 8:24 am
is there a picture of the cartoon somewhere? really would like to see


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