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The Cry of the Children Summary & Analysis
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Cry of the Children Summary & Analysis
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Cry of the Children” is a passionate indictment of child labor in 19th-century industrial England. First published in 1843 and later revised multiple times, the poem captures the immorality of exploiting children as workers, and condemns both the people and societal institutions that uphold child labor as a practice. The poem was criticized then and is still sometimes viewed today as a deeply sentimental work, relying on stark stories of children’s suffering in an effort to tug on readers’ heartstrings. Nevertheless, the poem was a popular success, succeeding not just in exposing the exploitation of working-class children, but also in rallying greater public support for child labor reforms in industrial England.

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