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The Horror of Child Labor Over 150 years later the same situation exists Light was not exactly shed in the problems of child labor in the mid-1800s Soon authors like Elizabeth Barrett Browning stepped to the forefront and raised public awareness for the deplorable conditions child laborers were subjected to When government investigations into child labor revealed the rampant exploitation of children Browning responded with a poem created in sympathy taking the form of her 1843 poem The Cry of the Children With this poem Browning worked to make the plight of the young workers known She gave them a voice loud and clear where they previously had none In her poem Browning worked to express not simply the injustices dealt to the children or the conditions they endured rather she worked to express the feelings of despair and bewilderment the child laborers were suffering The third stanza from The Cry of the Children represents the exact conditions that Browning wants her audience to be horrified and touched by Browning paints a clean picture for her audience so that they do not simply read the words but also visualize them With the mental picture of children looking up with pale and shrunken faces Browning sets the stage for an emotional representation She shows her audience images of the children she is talking about Their faces are pale from the lack of sunlight and from malnourishment Browning then clearly defines the perpetrator of the sadness she describes She identifies the hoary men or old men who are rich industrialists pulling and pressing down the checks of infancy Browning takes the literal actions of the industrialists who owned these childrens lives for 12-16 hours each day and became wealthy from their toil Browning transforms the old men into child killers who smother the breath from the lungs of the small children squashing out their lives This theme of impending death is then carried on throughout
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