Burial Rites

Ingveldur Rafnsdóttir Character Analysis

Ingveldur is Agnes, Jóas, and Helga’s mother. Ingveldur is known to be a “loose” woman, and she often has to move from farm to farm looking for posts as a servant. Ingveldur’s children are all fathered by different men Ingveldur works for. Ingveldur abandons Agnes when she’s a child, and later abandons Jóas. Agnes has mixed feelings towards her mother, sometimes of anger and other times of sadness and longing. Agnes feels she can understand the choices Ingveldur made. Jóas, on the other hand, cannot forgive her. As an adult, Agnes has no idea where her mother is or whether or not she is alive.

Ingveldur Rafnsdóttir Quotes in Burial Rites

The Burial Rites quotes below are all either spoken by Ingveldur Rafnsdóttir or refer to Ingveldur Rafnsdóttir. 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 4 Quotes

To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things…It’s not fair. People claim to know you through the things you’ve done, and not by sitting down and listening to you speak for yourself. No matter how much you try to live a godly life, if you make a mistake in this valley, it’s never forgotten…Who was she really?…she made mistakes and others made up their minds about her. People around here don’t let you forget your misdeeds. They think them the only things worth writing down.

Page Number: 103-104
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Burial Rites quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 13 Quotes

I am crying and my mouth is open and filled with something, it is choking me and I spit it out. On the ground is a stone, and I look back at Margrét, and see that she did not notice. “The stone was in my mouth,” I say.

Related Characters: Agnes Magnúsdottir (speaker), Margrét, Ingveldur Rafnsdóttir
Related Symbols: Agnes’s Mother’s Stone
Page Number: 307
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Burial Rites LitChart as a printable PDF.
Burial rites.pdf.medium

Ingveldur Rafnsdóttir Character Timeline in Burial Rites

The timeline below shows where the character Ingveldur Rafnsdóttir appears in Burial Rites. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
...and everyday objects in the room make Agnes think of the stone that her mother Ingveldur gave her. Ingveldur said the stone would allow Agnes to talk to birds if she... (full context)
Chapter 4
Truth and Liberation Theme Icon
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
...was six, and that she’s unsure if she’s alive or dead. Agnes says her mother, Ingveldur, had a bad reputation. When Tóti asks what she did, Agnes tells him that knowing... (full context)
Truth and Liberation Theme Icon
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
...her in the ministerial book was useless, since the facts do not get at who Ingveldur really was. One of Agnes’s few memories of her mother is the day she left,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
...quiet, but she talks to Tóti when he visits. Margrét mentions that Agnes’s mother was Ingveldur, who was known for being a “loose” woman. (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Class, Colonization, and Hierarchies of Power Theme Icon
Agnes remembers moving with Ingveldur from farm to farm in her early childhood. One of these farms was owned by... (full context)
Chapter 7
Truth and Liberation Theme Icon
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
...Agnes had gone in search of her father. Magnús had become furious when Agnes said Ingveldur’s name. Although Magnús said Agnes could stay, she felt uncomfortable there, and so she went... (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
...about their dead half-sister Helga. One night, though, they fought because Jóas talked badly about Ingveldur. The next morning, Jóas was gone and Agnes’s money was missing. Agnes never saw him... (full context)
Chapter 11
Truth and Liberation Theme Icon
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
...afraid for her children, but Margrét says mothers always are anyway. Agnes tells Margrét that Ingveldur left her when she was a child. Margrét says all mothers think of their children—including... (full context)
Chapter 13
Truth and Liberation Theme Icon
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
...make Agnes eat, but she does not want to. What she wants is the stone Ingveldur gave her to talk to birds. Agnes imagines herself lost and lonely in the silence... (full context)