Burial Rites

Björn is Inga’s husband, Kjartan’s father, and Agnes’s foster father from the time Agnes’s mother leaves her to the time Björn leaves his farm. Björn is a generally stoic man, although he does occasionally show Agnes small kindnesses, like taking her outside to see the northern lights. Björn tries to help Inga when she goes into labor during a snowstorm. After Inga dies in childbirth, Björn is heartbroken. He decides to give up farming and go work in Reykjavik, leaving Kjartan with Uncle Ragnar and giving Agnes up to the parish.

Björn Quotes in Burial Rites

The Burial Rites quotes below are all either spoken by Björn or refer to Björn . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Truth and Liberation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Back Bay Books edition of Burial Rites published in 2014.
Chapter 3 Quotes

I prefer a story to a prayer. They whipped me for that at this farm, Kornsá, once, when I was young and fostered out to watch over the home field. The farmer Björn did not like that I knew the sagas better than him. You’re better off keeping company with the sheep, Agnes. Books written by man, not God, are faithless friends and not for your kind.

Related Characters: Agnes Magnúsdottir (speaker), Björn
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Björn Character Timeline in Burial Rites

The timeline below shows where the character Björn appears in Burial Rites. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
Class, Colonization, and Hierarchies of Power Theme Icon
...the sagas. As a child, Agnes’s foster mother Inga encouraged reading, but her foster father Björn did not, saying books other than the Bible were “not for [her] kind.” (full context)
Chapter 5
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Class, Colonization, and Hierarchies of Power Theme Icon
...another daughter, Helga. By that time, Agnes was living with her foster family, Inga and Björn, at Kornsá. (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
...again about her childhood. She begins to tell him about her foster family, Inga and Björn, who raised her until Inga died in childbirth. Tóti asks Agnes if she remembers Inga’s... (full context)
Chapter 6
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
...death. It was winter. Agnes had been living at Kornsá for several years with Inga, Björn, and their son Kjartan. Inga, who Agnes called “Mamma,” had taught Agnes to read in... (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
...next day it began to snow, and Inga, not feeling well, stayed in the badstofa. Björn went to check on her while Agnes made porridge. Agnes peeped outside and saw a... (full context)
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
...Meanwhile, Inga’s moans continued in the loft. The children fell asleep, and when they woke Björn was standing over them. He informed them that Inga was dead. Agnes offered him the... (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Agnes threw a fit, screaming that she wanted to die. Björn, meanwhile, sat with his head in his hands. Agnes then went up to see Inga’s... (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
...him that after Inga died and the storm ended, the farmhand was sent to fetch Björn’s relatives. Björn told Agnes to put the baby’s body in the storeroom, which she did.... (full context)
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
After everything was clean, the family stood together around Inga’s body and Björn’s brother passed around a flask. The farmhand fetched a priest, and Aunt Rósa told Agnes... (full context)
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
...not to call Inga that. The two exchanged tense words. Later, Ragnar told Agnes that Björn was moving away and could not afford to keep her. Her foster brother Kjartan went... (full context)