In Synge's Riders to the Sea, what does Cathleen hide in the turf-loft, and how does this add to the dramatic entrance of Maurya?

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Synge's Riders to the Sea, Cathleen hides a "bundle" given to her by the area's young priest in the turf-loft.  The bundle is a "shirt and a plain stocking were got off a drowned man in Donegal."  The priest suggests Nora and Cathleen examine the bundle and determine whether or not the clothes belong to their brother, Michael, who was previously lost at sea.  The two sisters are to examine the bundle when Maurya is out of the house "down looking by the sea."  The priest and the sisters want to find out if the clothes belong to Michael without upsetting Maurya.  When Nora hears Maurya stirring in her bedroom (waking up from her nap), Cathleen hurries to hide the bundle before Maurya enters and sees it.  Introducing the bundle immediately creates suspense and conflict in the play.  The audience will now be wondering whether or not the clothes belong to Michael until the sisters get a chance to examine it later in the play.  Hiding the bundle does also add dramatically to Maurya's entrance in that it creates a sense of urgency as the audience watches to see if Cathleen gets it hdden before Maurya sees it.