Child Labour In The Cry Of The Children By Elizabeth Barrett-Browning

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The British industrial revolution provided significant improvements for the way that live but these improvements came at a cost through the way the labour was provided. Richard Henry Horne and James Mitchell uncovered some of these costs through their reports. A particular consideration this report revealed is the exploitation of child labour. Elizabeth Barrett-Browning was moved to fight for change and address what she considered to be a violation of human rights. She has taken it upon herself to be the voice for children that go unheard and don't have the means to speak for themselves. Elizabeth Barrett-Browning seeks to expose the extreme nature of child labour and the impact it had on the children during industrialisation, showing that …show more content…
Unlike the young animals that are playing outside, the children are not able to do so. Barrett-Browning laments with the children, “They are weeping in the playtime of the others / In the country of the free.” (11-12) This stanza suggests the irony that children are slaves in the country of the free. Furthermore, her poem gives a voice to the children and representing them in their plight with poor labour conditions during the industrial …show more content…
They were overcome with sorrow as they left their families and there was little time to prepare for what was to come. The factory in which they worked was a very dark place. There was very little illumination, which fed the already present darkness the children felt in their hearts. The dust and soot coming from the machinery clouded the air and masked whatever light shone through from the small windows from above. A lack of vitamin D paired with the harsh working conditions without a doubt were factors in developing the severe depression that the children suffer with.
Throughout stanza 7, Barrett-Browning selectively uses the word “turn”. It is repeated in such a way that dulls us as we continue to read the poem. The repetition is structured in a way that almost makes us become machine-like in the reading of this stanza. Barrett-Browning is attempting to recreate the experience of the continuous turning of the factory wheels, and the monotonous routines the children are tasked with. Though the repetition of the word “turn” is significant, it is used to emphasize the experience of the children in their work environment that they reluctantly must

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