A caricature is an exaggerated, usually comical, portrayal of a person or subject. Originally, caricature was an artistic term. Artists painted portraits of people, exaggerating specific features to produce a silly portrait. When applied to writing, caricature means that the writer has exaggerated aspects of a person or subject to create humor.
Her eyes were lasers, boring a hole through me. Her ears were smoking, and her hair was on fire. Mom was mad.
We loved our teacher Mr. Tanner. He wore shoes that were scuffed, and pants that were so tight around his belly that we wondered if he would pop out of them. His shirts were neatly pressed, but so starchy that he crackled when he walked. And, he was forever forgetting his Coke bottle glasses-perched on top of his head while he looked for them on his desk. But, he loved books, and he made us love books too.
Examples of Caricature in Literature
From Charles Dickens' Bleak House:
Mr. Chadband is a large yellow man, with a fat smile, and a general appearance of having a good deal of train oil in his system. Mrs. Chadband is a stern, severe-looking, silent woman. Mr. Chadband moves softly and cumbrously, not unlike a bear who has been taught to walk upright. He is very much embarrassed about the arms, as if they were inconvenient to him, and he wanted to grovel; is very much in a perspiration about the head; and never speaks without first putting up his great hand, as delivering a token to his hearers that he is going to edify them.
From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice-the character of Mrs. Bennett is a caricature:
Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.
Literary Terms Examples