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In "Riders to the Sea," Maurya has faced the deaths of 6 sons and her husband, all dying in the sea. Before Bartley goes on his journey to sell a couple of horses (he has to cross over the sea to get to the mainland), Maurya is very worried that he, too, may fall victim to the sea. Bartley ends up falling off of one of his horses into the sea and drowning. Maurya, surprisingly, feels a sense of peace and calm overcome her. Why is this? It is because the sea cannot claim anymore of her sons. She finds some sense of comfort because they are all now together in heaven with her husband (their father). Enotes point out that
There is an end to anxiety and a beginning of peace for her, though there will be little to eat. She realizes that she will not long survive these deaths. Maurya’s nobility and maturity of spirit enable her to see the good in all of her men now being together. She sprinkles Holy Water over the dead Bartley and asks God’s mercy on the souls of her men, on her own, and, generously, on the souls of everyone left living in the world.
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