Bahaa-Eddin Mazid: "Deconstructing a Contemporary Egyptian Newspaper Caricature"




The caricature text analyzed consists of a rectangular 5.5 x 8.5 cm double-lined frame separating it from the rest of the page. Within the frame, there is an illustration of a man and a woman, the man walking and the woman "posing," and two dialogue balloons. The locale is not obvious; the line and dots at the bottom of the image indicate a ground, probably part of a street. Between the two figures, at the bottom, there is the signature of Amr Fahmi, the author of the text.

The entire text is in black and white. Moreover, the illustrations are flat, or one-dimensional, and are obviously still, unlike a movie, for example. As regards other modality cues, the illustrations are somewhere between detailed and abstract. There are many details, but not as many as in a photograph. Below, a closer analysis of the visual and verbal components of the text is given.

Visual Modalities

In addition to the comments made above, the cartoon text is silent and unedited. It contains a mini-dialogue, but it is not audible or 'montaged.' Speech is indicated, not performed, by the mouth shape of the two figures.

The two main visual signifiers in the text are the woman and the man. The man is formally-dressed, wearing a jacket, trousers, a shirt and necktie, carrying a soft briefcase with his right hand, while his left hand is raised, forefinger extended vertically, and the other fingers extended horizontally to the left. The bag the man carries is a variety of the portfolio or attaché-case form, one that is usually used by a teacher, lawyer, white-collar worker, or a businessman.

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AS/SA Nº 9, Article 3 : Page 3 / 9

© 2000, Applied Semiotics / Sémiotique appliquée

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