Child Labor in Victorian Era: A Dramatic Denounce in Elizabeth Barret Browning´s The Cry of the Children
The age of Victorian Britain was a period where technology, education, engineering and many advances made Britain a big society. The industrial revolution was a period where the country became the steam engine for the world, expanding and spreading out its development rapidly and demanding good sources of work. It was a remarkable age of many improvements that made the country grows from its efforts via brilliant minds. However, due to a massive increase in manufacturing, children who were forced to do labor instead of play or study achieved a protagonist role in coalmines and in factory employment paid a big cost in this society. The poem The Cry of the Children by Elizabeth Barret Browning, criticizes child labor in the reign of Queen Victoria. Barret Browning shows the anguish of children based on the report of a parliamentary commission that exposes the exploitation of children in mines and in factories (The Norton anthology- English literature :1922). This essay shows the cruelty of child labor and God´s disillusion in Victorian society.
In Victorian times, England was a democratic and civilized country with an advanced manufacturing industry and a huge employment demand. Many members of this society were comforted wealth in contrast with poverty and child cruelty. It was a society where God was far away from the anguished poor people and the Church did not defend the rights of those who suffered.
Elizabeth Barret Browning expresses a dramatic view about child labor in her poem “The Cry of the Children”. In the first stanza, Barret Browning starts describing how children are suffering because they are forced to work, probably, because they live in poverty and have to help the family but also because, as children, they will not get the same salary as an adult normally gets. How could mothers let their children work? It is unthinkable...