Meme Analysis


The word "Meme" is autological, meaning it describes itself. According to researcher Curry Chandler "biologist Richard Dawkins introduced the word “meme” to refer to a hypothetical unit of cultural transmission"(MEMES, ENTHYMEMES, AND THE REPRODUCTION OF IDEOLOGY). We share our ideas through memes on the internet so we can communicate and relate, they're well-liked because we enjoy being personable and knowing that others have experienced what we have. According to legal scholar Jake Balkin, "Much human communication requires the parties to infer and supplement what is being conveyed rather than simply uncoding it"(Cultural Software p.51). Memes are rhetorical so they rely on prior knowledge for understanding. That also means that memes can be globally understood or only understandable to a specific group of people. Memes are not only available in one type of format, memes can be videos, images, or blatant jokes, the true "meme" is the general idea that is spread which is why so many sub-memes or "children" are created from the mother meme. In actuality, a meme is an art that conveys an idea of understanding through rhetoric.

Surprised Pikachu meme

According to Know your meme the surprised Pikachu meme is a reaction image paired with a caption set up that sets up a a joke that ends with obvious shock. Originally it was posted to Tumblr (a social media website) as the Following :

Reaction images are used similar to emoji's but are used for a stronger comedic and overall in general emotional affect. This screenshot was from the Pokemon episode "Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village". This meme itself went viral in 2015 and has continued to be used since.

Works Cited

Balkin, J.M. (2003) Cultural software: A theory of ideology. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Curry Chandler (2015) Memes, enthymemes, and the reproduction of ideology, Curry Chandler. Curry Chandler. Available at: (Accessed: November 9, 2022).

Surprised Pikachu (2022) Know Your Meme. Available at: (Accessed: November 9, 2022).