Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Poems

Pity and Revenge in Frankenstein and The Cry of the Children College

Both the poem The Cry of the Children by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley portray acts of cruelty in an attempt to arouse pity from readers. The victims in each case feel bitter self-pity and respond with resentment towards those who wrong them. The working class children in the poem and the Monster in Frankenstein are pitiful characters because of how they are treated, but they are not completely helpless. They still can exercise free will and choose how to react to their treatment. There is a great difference in their outward dispositions even though their initial sentiments are similar. Both authors create characters that suffer injustices and desire pity, but their characters’ responses to their challenges determine whether or not they deserve the readers' sympathy.

The children in Browning’s poem feel sorrow and general despair towards their lives. They look forward to death, saying, “It is good when it happens” (Browning, line 51). The children are brave abou something that is universally feared. Browning uses the children's unexpected outlook to show how they cope with hardships. They tell those who suggest that they should leave their work and play in the countryside to “...

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