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The Cry of the Children

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by

Tom Costello

on 11 March 2011

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Transcript of The Cry of the Children

The Cry of the Children Elizabeth Barrett Browning Elizabeth Barrett Browning Background Information She got married to Robert Browning (another English poet) in 1846 Many of her poems carried a religious tone, and she was a very spiritual woman She was said to have inspired many poetic legends of the Victorian Era, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson. Form The Cry of the Children takes on a narrative form, walking the reader through the life of the children that were forced to work in this period. In addition, the poem adopts a rhyme scheme similar to that of a Shakespearean Sonnet, without the couplet to finalise each stanza. Structure The poem is comprised of 13 stanzas, and each individual stanza is made up of 12 lines. The lines within these stanzas are rhyming couplets, and the rhyme scheme is a,b,a,b. These long stanzas could be mirroring the laborious tasks these children were faced with. Language The imagery used in this poem is very stark and bleak - Elizabeth Barrett Browning does not try to 'doll up' the poem, or try and make child labour sound anything but horrific. In addition, she also features the children's dialogue, which gives the poem more authenticity. Born in County Durham on 6th March 1806 Her first poem was thought to be at age 8, and was titled 'On the Cruelty of Forcement to Man' Her first collection of poems was published in 1826, and drew the attention of many other scholars, poets and authors She was widely respected for her stands against social injustice (notably child labour) Contextual Information Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote this poem when "when government investigations had exposed the exploitation of children employed in coal mines and factories." She referred to this as "appalling use of child labour", and she refused to not be heard when she openly expressed her views about it.
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