Critical Analysis Of Four Hail Marys By Anne Goodwin

“Four Hail Marys” is a mastery short story written by Anne Goodwin. The story is about Four Hail Marys the Roman Catholic prayer, the mother of Jesus. In this short story Mary is relevant to the catholic religion and by using the words “Hail Mary” which means one is saved from their sins, we find Mary in this story trying to live up to that name “Hail Mary”. This essay will critically analyse the written short story by discussing the main characters, a brief overview of the plot, setting, and themes and to which point of view is the story written. These will be discussed in a sequence that leads us to a good colluding ending of the story.
In the introduction of the story the protagonist (main character) is being introduced,
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Mary’s best friend Bernadette whom she kindly refers to Bernie is well aware of Mary’s affair; we see this because in paragraph 24 line 2-3 the narrator says “Her slipping off the rails with Graham, as Bernie put it, requires an adult vocabulary.” However she had a husband Nick whom she betrayed and broke their promise. Moreover she does not regard Nick as a good husband because he did not seem to take their vows more seriously. This is because in paragraph 26 line one “Her husband’s cavalier…” that is why Mary says even her husband is in no position to judge her.
However Mary is also an obsessive person. She constantly thinks about the past and the affair she had which in a way affects her thinking. Line one paragraph one, “quietly obsessing on…” sets a tone of Mary as a character who is always fascinating about her past how it affects her future. Apart from that she is very religious and indeed a catholic girl who believes in Mary the mother of Jesus. She frequently used to participate in church in addition as a wife she did not live up to her name because in comparison to the Mary in the bible that Mary was not like
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“Four Hail Marys” it is the roman catholic prayer so that is why the whole is about religion of the Roman Catholics. The prayers being said by the protagonist in the line starting with “FourHailMaryfullofgrace…” also gives emphasis to the point that one of the themes we find in this story is religion and even the setting (church) also depict that what is happening inside is religious and we do know that in reality church is a religious and most respectable place to be. Mary (protagonist) used to say the four Hail Mary after she has confessed and for the priest to show that she is forgiven he would tell her to say the four Hail Marys. Therefore the story is also about confession. We see this in the line starting with “Mary falls to her knees.” and when the narrator explains the event that is happening in the story that the people who are in the church came for their own private service, the holy sacrament of confession. This also gives emphasis that the story is also about confession because some of the characters are obsessing about confessing their sins to the priest like the quilted jacket

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