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Conflict by the use of Cartoons

Updated: Jul 2, 2022

In the animated movie “Spirit of 43” released in 1943, Joe Grant and Carl Barks build a compelling narrative through visuals to influence public perception and behavior. Analyzing this, we see how the media especially through secondary socialization has been used educate and condition early learners.

In the movie, the primary intention was to increase the collection of war bonds and taxes while simultaneously encouraging patriotism among the US citizenry. The movie shows Donald Duck, an average American working-class man who just received his salary. Donald is then immediately confronted by two of his angels, one asks him to spend - with a sinister connotation - and the other “righteous” angel asks Donald to save so that he can pay taxes. This attempt clearly reinforces the idea of imposing certain beliefs on children and shows how the state used media to manipulate the masses.

Furthermore, another movie, "Der Fuehrer's Face" goes on to show Donald Duck in a Nazi-like land where he is tortured and forced to work in factories, but eventually wakes up and realizes he had a nightmare. Donald can be seen waking up in a comfortable bed – wearing American flag trousers and displaying immense gratitude. He then kisses the Statue of Liberty and says “Oh boy, am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America!” This scene explicitly utilizes propaganda which leaves the impression of the USA being an extremely comfortable and blessed nation, encouraging the public to be proud and grateful.

To conclude, media as an instrument, have constantly utilized various mediums and channels to educate and condition public opinion.

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