Analysis of the Political Cartoon ‘A Happy Pandemic’: Critical Essay

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‘A Happy Pandemic’ is a satirical political cartoon drawn by cartoonist Mike Luckovich regarding the coronavirus epidemic. Released on the 27th of February 2020 in the AJC newspaper, the cartoon is in response to the Covid-19 epidemic and American President Donald Trump’s behavior regarding the situation. The cartoon displays how the president poorly reacted to the coronavirus epidemic in terms of solutions press releases and general behavior. During this Covid-19 epidemic, the president was expected to bring unity in America and respectfully guide citizens to contain the virus, however, Trump was seen spreading fake information, making mocking remarks, and altogether causing chaos between the states. Luckovich takes the point of view that Trump has displayed himself as foolish when treating the virus lightly despite the opinion of medical professionals. This idea is supported by the visual and language features in the cartoon, including sarcasm, wit, and caricature.

The represented participant in the cartoon is Donald Trump. Although the cartoon never states the man is Trump, the audience can identify him through the use of caricature. It is displayed that Trump does not consider the coronavirus as a threat and considers it unimportant. This is explicitly shown through the image of him drawing smiley faces and doodling on the picture of the virus. This suggests that his behavior and actions are the target of this cartoon. However, this is given that background information on the coronavirus and Trump’s behavior in response must be known for the viewer to completely understand the cartoonist’s purpose and message.

Language features, specifically sarcasm, have been used in the cartoon to show an important opinion of the two men, assumed to be medical professionals. The phrase used is “Oh, great, he’s got his Sharpie out again”. The phrase is very sarcastic and displays to the audience their negative view of the president. The sarcastic phrase is of a belittling and mocking tone, as if comparing Trump to a child, and clearly shows the little respect the president is shown from Luckovich and professionals. To further prove their view, the cartoonist has given both men an annoyed face. This element of the cartoon was cleverly used to explicitly indicate the medical professionals’ negative viewpoint of Donald Trump to the audience.

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The cartoon has used visual features such as caricatures to enhance Donald Trump’s recognizable and dominant features. Luckovich has successfully made him recognizable with Trump’s signature bushy yellow hair, orange skin, tiny hands, and small eyes. By positioning Trump to be at the front foolishly doodling on the posters, as the medical professionals are mocking him from behind makes Trump look childish and silly. This compares his actions to a child. This also allows the audience to feel that if professionals don’t take him seriously, they shouldn’t either.

The cartoonist has successfully implemented visual and language features to deliver his message to the viewer. The audience will successfully understand that the purpose and target of the cartoon are to sarcastically mock Donald Trump and his foolish actions regarding the Covid-19 epidemic. Although some people may disagree with the cartoon and support Trump and his decisions, Luckovich will have influenced viewers that the American prime minister has not taken the right actions in response to the virus.

In conclusion, the cartoon ‘A Happy Pandemic’ included visual and language features that successfully delivered the cartoonist’s message to the audience. The cartoon effectively mocked Trump through the use of sarcasm and caricature and influenced other viewers’ opinions on the issue. The negative portrayal of Trump has been explicitly displayed. Mike Luckovich was very clever in his use of devices to get his point across.

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Analysis of the Political Cartoon ‘A Happy Pandemic’: Critical Essay. (2023, October 11). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
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