In her poem, “The Cry of the Children,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning repeatedly emphasizes the youth of the children. What purpose does this serve? Aren’t all children already assumed to be young? From a more technical point of view, a “child” is anyone under the age of eighteen. In using the phrase, “young children,” Browning may be simply indicating that her subject matter is under the age of ten rather than an adolescent nearing adulthood. Browning’s repeated use of the adjective “young” to describe the children could also serve to further highlight the discrepancy between their age and their attitude towards life. Even though it is generally understood that children are young by virtue of being children, Browning may be using repetition to insure that her audience fully comprehends how young the poem’s subjects are to be so downtrodden and depressed.In continually emphasizing the young age of the poem’s subjects, Browning could be trying remind her readers of the connotations generally associated with youth–vitality, innocence, eagerness, and optimism–and then point out how many of these qualities the children lack. Use of the word “young” could also serve as a contrast to the word “old,” which is also used repeatedly throughout the poem.