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Do Cartoons Serve a Purpose Other Than Entertainment?

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How far do you agree that cartoons are for entertainment and nothing else?

A cartoon is an illustration that depicts satire, caricature, or humour. It originated in the Middle ages and was associated with paintings. In the 19th century, cartoons consisted of humorous illustrations in magazines and in the early 20th century and onward, it referred to animated films. It is worth arguing that cartoons serve a serious purpose beyond mere entertainment.

Firstly, almost all cartoons have lessons, morals or values that a child can learn. Children learn the importance of teamwork, sharing, honesty and perseverance. For instance, although Jerry wins most battles, Tom still fights hard and tries to beat Jerry. Tom teaches us, from an early age, that failure is inevitable. But, failure is not a bad thing. The key is to persist until we succeed. Hence, Tom encourages us to always pursue our dreams and never give up. Cartoons are full of positive life messages. Another example is that Pinocchio teaches us that lying is wrong thereby instilling honesty in children at a tender age. However, in some cases, values taught by these cartoons are not easily understood by children due to cultural differences. For example, lessons learnt from The Simpsons are mostly based upon the American culture and hence not understood by people of different cultural backgrounds.

Moreover, cartoons help in building the vocabulary of children. Through cartoons, kids are exposed to new words and this hence improves their speech, writing skills in the long run and their overall linguistic abilities. They improve speech and vocabulary not only regarding their mother tongue, but they can also learn a foreign language. Many kids learn basic words from their favourite cartoons before even going to pre-primary school. On the same wavelength, younger children also learn new sounds, shapes and colours with the help of cartoons. It can however be argued that while cartoons help in building vocabulary, cartoons may also teach swear words to children. For example, South Park is flooded with swear words and hence children are more likely to curse when growing up.

Additionally, cartoons are very eye-catching and can hence be used for educational purposes. Books meant for toddlers or nursery students are flooded with cartoon images as they are pleasing to children’s eyes. Visual learners are also more likely to retain what they saw in form of cartoons rather than mere words. Such cartoons can teach basic things to children in a fun and interactive way, thus making learning an enjoyable activity. The moving, talking pictures and colourful visuals make learning interesting for children.

Lastly, cartoons enable children to be aware of social life at a young age. Kids have a vague idea of what is going on in the social world and they can grow with the knowledge of interacting well with people in the society. They learn to form friendships and how to ultimately transcribe their thoughts into proper words.

However, the conventional use of cartoons is for entertainment purposes. Cartoons such as Alvin and the chipmunks, Spongebob Squarepants and Regular show do not teach any life lessons or values but have the sole purpose of entertaining their viewers. They create a fun and loving environment which helps humans forget their problems, unwind, de-stress and enjoy the moment. Cartoons make children feel better. Whenever they feel low, worried or are even sick, cartoons act as a great source of entertainment and enhances their mood. They make children laugh, feel better and hence reduce their stress level significantly. Cartoons also keep the child in us alive.

Watching cartoons is a great entertainment activity for both children and adults. After several busy working hours, parents can sit next to their kids and watch cartoons together. It can help create memories and bring the family together. This brings the parents and children closer and strengthens their bond. For example, the whole family can watch fun and light-hearted cartoons such as Mickey Mouse and Paw Patrol which result in a wholesome bonding experience for the family. This undoubtedly brings the whole family closer.

I strongly believe that while the traditional purpose of cartoons was for entertainment, cartoons serve other important purposes other than merely entertaining, in our modern industrialised world. As our world is evolving and modernising, cartoons are being widely used as a medium in Education as they are captivating and facilitate learning. Hence, cartoons are for all ages and an important part of the globalised world as the uses of cartoons has evolved through the centuries.

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