The poppy

A cartoon challenges the viewer to take action on Poppy Day. The symbol of the poppy and the role of the RSA in commemoration are key to the image.

“This Poppy Needs You” by Malcolm Evans, 20 April 2012.(external link)

“This Poppy Needs You” by Malcolm Evans, 20 April 2012. Alexander Turnbull Library. DCDL-0020988.

Context

This cartoon appeared in The Press shortly before Anzac Day in 2012, when there would have been many collectors out on the streets, seeking donations for the Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association (RSA). New Zealand is the only country to hold its Poppy Day Appeal for Anzac Day. People in other countries wear a poppy on Armistice Day (11 November), but the boat carrying poppies to New Zealand for the first appeal in 1921 was delayed, so, in New Zealand, the appeal has been held to coincide with Anzac Day ever since.

The poster depicted in the background of this cartoon was used for recruitment in Britain in 1914 and has become one of the most iconic images of the First World War. It features Lord Kitchener (who was then the British Secretary of State for War) challenging people to join their country’s army.

Key questions

  • What can we observe?
  • What do we already know?
  • How might people view this cartoon in different ways?

Possible discussion questions

  • What can you see in this cartoon?
  • What is similar and what is different about the two characters?
  • What do you think Malcolm Evans is trying to tell the viewer?
  • What does the symbol of the poppy mean to you?
  • Why do you think this poppy needs you so long after the end of the war?
  • Where else have you seen poppies used?
  • Do you know of other symbols related to war or peace?
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