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We are presented with a world in which both natural and supernatural elements seem to coexist. The isolated island on which Maurya and her family live presents itself as a perfect place where superstition and religion have a massive impact on its inhabitants, and this can be seen principally through the character of Maurya and the way in which she sees a vision that predicts her last son's death. Note what Maurya says after going to give her blessing to Bartley:
I've seen the fearfulest thing any person has seen since the day Bride Dara seen the dead man with the child in his arms.
We are plunged into a world where blessings are important to avert evil, and where visions are common and talked about as foreshadowing important events. Maurya's vision of her dead son Michael with Bartley effectively shows how Bartley as well will join his brothers in being lost to the sea that will leave Maurya destitute.
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