Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

Unit 19 – A Cartoon About Old People

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 1 minute 30 seconds


The following is a Creative Commons-licenced illustration from


1. Which of the following elements of the above illustration could be removed without effecting the illustration’s main message?

  • A      The caption
  • B      The ear hair and wrinkles
  • C      The thought bubble
  • D      The runny nose and druel

  • Answer: D
    The main message, slightly offensive as it is (though not entirely unlike some of ACER’s past papers mind) is that our elders are not wise, but senile and forgetful. So, what are the elements that contribute to the communication of this message?
    The sarcastic caption is vital. As is the thought bubble, which illustrates the loss of memory associated with age. The ear hair and wrinkles is where it gets interesting. Without the ear hair and wrinkles, the man in the cartoon wouldn’t look like an old person at all. The cartoon would no longer make any sense. All that’s left without the wrinkles and hair is a slightly fat looking guy. The runny nose and druel indicate sickness and neediness and imply an inability to take care of themselves. The neediness is secondary to the main message implied by the caption. This sarcastic caption, The Wisdom of the Elders, would still be applicable if the man was not ill. (He would still be old, and forgetful.) You could argue that removing the runny nose and druel effects the secondary message of the piece, but it clearly has the least impact on the cartoon overall and is not required to express the primary message.

    Gamsat Sample Questions

    May 29, 2012

Leave a comment  




Submit comment