DOI: 10.18413/2313-8912-2022-8-2-0-7

Trump’s image in a political cartoon: analysis of expressive potential

This study is an attempt to describe the expressive means used in American political cartoons covering the most prominent events before and during Donald Trump’s presidency. Political cartoon as a type of political text is widely adopted in political communication with the aim to manipulate people’s minds. The results of the study show the functioning of verbal units at all language levels and nonverbal means (visual metaphors and symbols) that help cartoonists show the Trump’s presidency in a humorous way and shape public opinion about the 45th president of the United States. The graphical means comprising capitalization, font and red colour captivate the reader’s attention by emphasizing the key issues in the cartoons. Phonetic means which are sound effects and sound repetitions stress Trump’s emotional condition, underlying his immediate reactions to any criticism. The lexical means such as comparison and antithesis draw the parallel between Trump and other political actors stating Trump’s role in American politics as a leader. Syntactic techniques (exclamatory, interrogative, and rhetorical sentences) point at Trump’s problem solving skills, and his original ideas. Symbols, hidden in the cartoons, contain extra linguistic information that is necessary for understanding the cartoonist’s message. Visual metaphors transmit the information through easily recognized vivid images and comparisons.

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