Because Maurya is the elder one in the family, she has the authority over her children. It is supposed to be a patriarchal society but in that family there is matriarchy. So, why does not Bartley want to obey his mother's rules and words she utters?
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Maurya heads a matriarchal family because all of the men (her husband and five sons) have been lost to the sea. Maurya doesn't want to lose Bartley, but he is headstrong and masculine, and the first chance he gets...... he too tempts the sea by riding the family mare into the rushing water where he dies like the other men is his family.
Maurya's society is not partriarchal; she is forced to become head of the household by circumstances....... not by what society deems right and proper. Bartley on the other hand, would consider himself the "man" of the house, and for him it would be only natural not to listen to his mother or obey what she tells him.
Riders to the Sea