Child Labor

A young boy from the time of the industrial revolution, Journal entries. He explains his emotions and hardship of being in a cotton factory, during the time child labor was acceptable.

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1. Child Labor

July 12, 1914

78℉ ~ Sunny with clear skies

 

“It’s time that you work Jack.”

 

These were the first words my mother said on my seventh birthday. I really don’t know what that meant, but I hear that children who work get paid. And mother always had told me that with money you could get lots of things. Food, candy, a good home, bread, candy….

 

July 13, 1914

80℉ ~ Humid with partially cloudy skies

 

Today, I went to the factory. Some men showed me how to use the machines, and what to avoid. I saw many other children there working. Some my age, some younger or older. I looked at their faces, and they didn’t seem very happy. Many had dark circles around their eyes. Mother said when you get old you get dark circle and droopy eyelids.

 

I wonder if this factory makes you age faster, than you really should. I find this sad, because they probably didn’t have a long happy childhood.

 

July 14, 1914

77℉ ~ Sun peaks through the windows

 

I am tired, and I can barely write. I had to wake up early to go on my first day of the job. It was hot and humid, especially with a the other children around. I had to change the ‘cans’ which held fluffy cotton and replace them with empty ones.

 

Since I am very small it is very hard to carry these cans. I coughed on the cotton fibers that were in the air. It was hot and I could barely breath. I never felt so light-headed, I feared I might faint. I tell myself to be strong like mother to me to.

 

Once, I dropped a can on the floor. Cotton spilled out of it like soft, silky, snow.  Footsteps come my way as I try to pick up what I dropped.

 

An angry voice shouts. “Darn cack-handed kid!”

 

I am beaten with fierce blows from the man.

 

After my shift was over, I went to the cold damp bed that waited for me in the house of many other children. Covering myself in a thin blanket I cried myself to sleep.

 

The worst part was, at the end of the day, I didn’t have enough money to buy candy.

 

July 12, 1920

75℉~ Haven’t seen the sky lately

 

I haven’t written in some time. Today is the same day my mother sent me to work in this place. The same day I deluded myself with fantasies, of warm houses, happy children, and candy.

My birthday.

 

I am now thirteen years old. The doctors told me this was my last year. Of living that is. Not that they care. They just use me for work. I guess, that’s why I’m writing this. In hopes that, I can be remembered somehow. Or someone can stop this from happening to any other child.

 

Because I had to grow up the hard way. I would say I exactly grew up though. I more grew like a mourning willow tree. My back was constantly in pain, and I can’t take a simple breath without breaking into a cough.

 

Although I haven't been out much, I imagine (Or delude myself you might say) that the sky has a sun that is as bright as the day, I left my mother.

 
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