Pursuing Snowden


1.     Closely study any characters in the cartoon. Based on your knowledge of local and world events, who can be identified?

In the cartoon, there are three main focuses. A cat is dressed like Uncle Same with fangs and there is also a small mouse with the head of Edward Snowden. There are both on the world.

2.     Look at the characters' style of dress and other visual clues including facial expressions, body language and appearance, and exaggerated facial or physical characteristics.

The cat has a vicious expression with fangs and sharp claws and is clawing the air. It is also dressed as Uncle Sam, which is obviously representing America. The cat’s figure has taken over about half of the world. The cat also appears to be lunging for the mouse. The mouse has the head of Edward Snowden and is very tiny in comparison to the cat. The mouse’s body is also rather stout with very skinny and small arms and legs. Edward Snowden’s facial expression shows that he is very nervous and appears to be sweating while desperately trying to escape the cat’s claws. Snowden’s face has an exaggerated nose and huge ears.

3.     Identify any objects or symbols in the cartoon.

The Uncle Sam cat symbolizes the United States of America, there is half a globe which symbolizes Snowden’s path of travel from fleeing the United States, and Edward Snowden is supposed to symbolize a fleeing mouse.

4.     Read the caption or any text in the cartoon. What does it express?

The only text available in this cartoon is the title, Pursuing Snowden. This expresses the U.S.’s desire to stop and charge Snowden with crime.

5.     State the message or main ideas presented in the cartoon.

Snowden and Uncle Sam are engaged in a cat and mouse game.  He’s running all over the world and Uncle Sam is chasing him with claws out and swiping at him– so the intent seems to be to finish him.  Also, Snowden is barely a few steps ahead of Uncle Sam and he seems to be losing ground. 

6.     Identify any words or phrases that appear most important.

There are only two words in the caption, “Pursuing Snowden”.  Not only are these two words important, they also explain quite clearly the message of the cartoon. 

7.     Examine the techniques the cartoonist uses to convey his message: symbolism, ridicule, caricature, satire, puns.

The cartoonist uses symbols that most people all over the world can relate to immediately.  Most everyone understands the significance of a cat chasing a mouse.  The cat is wearing an outfit that is instantly identifiable as Uncle Sam’s clothing.  The size of the globe is not much larger than the cat is, which implies the might of the United States.  The mouse is an obvious caricature of Snowden.  Finally, the cat has a vicious look on its face, which shows Uncle Sam’s wrath. 

8.     Identify what special interest groups would agree or disagree with the cartoon's message.

The United States’ government would probably disagree with this portrayal because it shows America as a bully.  The NSA and other government agencies who work to keep the country secure would also disagree with the images.  The people who support privacy for all citizens and governments that were spied upon would agree with this message.  All the people who dislike America and feel that American is too powerful would also agree with this message. 

9.     Summarize or paraphrase the cartoon's message or main idea.

The cartoon’s main message is an angry and mighty United States chasing a scared Snowden.  By making the cat almost as big as the globe, the message seems to be that Snowden has really no place to hide with the United States hot on his tail.