Riders to the Sea main character Maurya, an old peasant woman, standing on the coast

Riders to the Sea

by J. M. Synge

Start Free Trial

In Riders to the Sea, why couldn't the mother bless her son Bartley?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Maurya tries very hard to dissuade her son Bartley from going off to sell a horse. She and the rest of the family have been waiting for over a week to hear the fate of her other son, Michael, who is lost at sea and presumed dead. She pleads with Bartley not to go because if Michael is dead, he will be the only son she has left and she worries that he might die too. Dismissing her worries, Bartley is determined to go. She calls him “a hard and cruel man” for not listening to her when she is trying to save him from the sea. After he leaves, offering God’s blessing on her, his sister Cathleen chastises her mother for not giving him the blessing in return. Maurya makes no direct answer, but Cathleen soon realizes they have forgotten to give him some bread. She suggests that Maurya take it to him and say “God speed you” when she sees him, and her mother agrees.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial