"Hey!...Look What Zog Do!": A Revealing Look Inside Gary Larson's The Far Side

William Drew Gibson, The College of Wooster


This thesis explores the nature by which The Far Side cartoon communicates its inherent cultural messages to its readers by analyzing their impact on shaping and reflecting societal perceptions. Specifically examined are cartoons depicting evolutionary themes, defined by a narrow and recurring range of distinctive cultural settings of the landscape and characteristic features of the individuals illustrated in the visual image. A content analysis of 151 of these cartoons incorporates three aspects: an individual analysis of the captions, a categorical breakdown of the visual image, and an evaluation of the scientific principles communicated to the reader. Also revealed is The Far Side's most effective vehicle in communicating to its cultural receivers the themes embedded in the cartoon: contrast to other cultures. Future research is suggested, focusing more on providing a questionnaire to a projected population in order to come to a deeper understanding of the perceptions affected by The Far Side.


© Copyright 1999 William Drew Gibson