IB DP Language A Language and Literature – sample text analysis – cartoon (adaptation)

Source: Jonathon Swift. A Modest Proposal. Adapted by Peter Kuper in Graphic Canon 1. 463

Jonathon Swift. A Modest Proposal. Adapted by Peter Kuper in Graphic Canon 1. 463
Jonathon Swift. A Modest Proposal. Adapted by Peter Kuper in Graphic Canon 1. 464

Before you read the “spoiler” bullet points below take a careful look at the text. Imagine it is a text you are using for your DP Language A Language and Literature assessments: the individual oral, the HL essay, or Paper 1 and analyze it accordingly. (This text would not be appropriate for Paper 2).

The points below focus on the cartoon elements of the text. The original text by Jonathon Swift is a satirical essay which focuses on a grisly solution to poverty in Ireland. Swift’s satirical solution is to take the poor underfed children of Ireland and serve them as food.

Some elements of the text to consider:

  • The dark and grim tone color scheme
  • The layout of the cartoon: overlapping collage-style images (except for the one panel on the second page)
  • How the sharp contrast between rich and poor is shown
  • How the original text is pared down to a few brief extracts which summarize the central argument of the original satirical essay
  • The depiction of the child on page 2 and how it differs from what it would actually look like if Swift’s ideas had been put into practice
  • The unflattering image of the chef on page 2

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