In this etching Goya once again addressed the consequences of the famine that Spain suffered during the War of Independence. A cloaked woman holds an extremely thin boy by his shoulders. It seems he is unable to stand up on his own. It is possible that the boy suffered from lathyrism, which was particularly severe in children and was a consequence of consuming large quantities of grass peas that were used instead of wheat to make bread and prepare soups.
Another figure on the left of the composition displays his naked torso and visible ribs. Behind the woman and the child, Goya etched a young woman who holds a newborn. In the background a man lays on the ground, possibly unconscious from hunger. On the right are two caped figures who Goya depicted in several of the etchings of the Desastres de la guerra [Disasters of War] and who express despair and pain.