Many students find it difficult to analyze caricatures in history class and understand what the creator meant. Like perspective about the Berlin Wall. This page provides essential tips and tricks to never get a caricature question wrong again.


It is important to realize that caricatures were created at a specific time to mock a particular contemporary event. They were made so that everyone at that time could understand them, including people who could barely read or not at all. This does not mean that people back then would thoroughly analyze the source as you often have to do for a caricature assignment, but they did understand the gist of the source. This is because they had knowledge of the time and the subject since they lived during that period!

An important prerequisite for doing a caricature assignment well is having knowledge of the situation. If you are not aware of what was happening at that time, you will never be able to understand a caricature properly. The people who lived during that time were aware of what was going on, and therefore, it was quite easy for them to understand a caricature. Realize that without knowledge of the subject and the time in which the caricature was made, it is not possible to understand the caricature properly and thus complete the assignment correctly.

Three Questions

When you have knowledge of the subject and the time period, it is important to always ask yourself three questions if you want to fully understand the caricature. These three questions will ensure that you can answer all questions about the caricature. Always follow these steps when analyzing a caricature:

  1. What do you see? An important step is to first carefully look at everything that is visible in the image. Even the smallest details in the image can be important for a particular question about the caricature.
  2. What symbolism is used?
  3. What does the creator mean with that symbolism?