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To compare and contrast the two pre 1914 pieces of poetryThe Cry Of The Children by Elizabeth Barrett Browning The Song Of The Shirt by Thomas Hook

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Introduction

To compare and contrast the two pre 1914 pieces of poetry The Cry Of The Children by Elizabeth Barrett Browning The Song Of The Shirt by Thomas Hook The two pieces of poetry were both written in 1843. The first half of the 19th century was of social unrest in Britain. The constant expansion of the British Empire was causing a rapid develop of industry in Britain. As a result of the Industrial Revolution, factories, mills and mines constructed and they needed to cheap and labour to work in them. Conditions for these workers, who included children, were terrible and the wages were very poor. Most working families expected children as young as five to work in order to support their family and survive. Both of the two poems were written in the same year. They both highlight the awful conditions and appeal on behalf of those having no voice of their own in society. In this case it is the women and children who are unable to speak for themselves. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the daughter of a wealthy and successful businessman. She had a very privileged childhood in an estate in Shropshire; very different from the life of the childfree detailed in her poem. ...read more.

Middle

I think that this poem was written for a less literary audience than Cry of the Children. The Song of the Shirt is a poem that tells the everyday life of a sweat shop worker who is forced to make shirts constantly in order to be able to afford food and survive. Unlike Mrs Browning's poem, the Song of the Shirt is more of a narrative poem and simply tells the story of the woman's everyday life and her lamentations. It is not a direct plea for help or change. This is the case until the penultimate line when it says "Would that its tone could reach the Rich!" The words used in the song do not force the reader to think about the terrible life of this woman. It is left up to the reader to decide what should be done, but pricks the reader's conscience every time he bought or put on a shirt. On the one hand, the poems are very similar. They both have a similar aim which is to educate the upper classes about the difficulties in life for people who were forced to work to survive. Both poems show the level of tiredness that the workers had after a long days work. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the other hand, the children do not know what enjoyment is. They are unable to see a good side of life when all they have been exposed to is the very worst. To similarities are the views of the Christian work. In the Song of the Shirt, the old woman complains that her life did not deserve to be so bad because she is a Christian. She goes on to sing that she might as well be Turk who didn't have a soul than be a Christian because she gets nothing out of being a Christian. In the Cry of the Children, the children are forced to pray to God and are told that whey will be rewarded in heaven. The children are unable to believe about God because they do not know how he will hear their cries for help when all the people near to them hear their cries and yet do nothing. Also, they are told that man is made in God's image and so therefore so is their master and their master is telling them to continue to work. They also do not pray to God because all their life is spent down in the mine and so they believe heaven must be similar to it. Finally when it says that "God's possible is taught by His world's loving," it explains why the children cannot believe in God because they receive no love. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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