Burial Rites

María Jónsdóttir Character Analysis

María is Agnes’s close friend during her time working on Worm’s farm, and one of Agnes’s first friends ever. The two women grow apart, however, after Agnes begins seeing Natan. María warns Agnes to be careful of Natan, but Agnes thinks María is just jealous. Eventually, they stop talking altogether.

María Jónsdóttir Quotes in Burial Rites

The Burial Rites quotes below are all either spoken by María Jónsdóttir or refer to María Jónsdóttir. 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 7 Quotes

She said Natan had started giving himself some airs, calling himself Lyngdal, not Ketilsson, though neither of us could work out why—it was a strange sort of name to have, not Icelandic in the slightest. María thought it was probably to make himself out to be a Dane, and I wondered that he was allowed to change his name at all. María told me that men might do as they please, and that they are all Adams, naming everything under the sun.

Related Characters: Agnes Magnúsdottir (speaker), Natan Ketilsson, María Jónsdóttir
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

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María Jónsdóttir Character Timeline in Burial Rites

The timeline below shows where the character María Jónsdóttir appears in Burial Rites. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Class, Colonization, and Hierarchies of Power Theme Icon
...the farm was a nice place to work. At the farm, Agnes became close with María Jónsdóttir, another servant. (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
Class, Colonization, and Hierarchies of Power Theme Icon
...a servant named Daníel Gudmundsson had wanted to marry her. After Jóas left, Agnes enjoyed María’s friendship on the farm. María was her first friend, since Agnes generally preferred reading to... (full context)
Truth and Liberation Theme Icon
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
...other in verse. Agnes then tells Tóti that she met Natan at a harvest celebration. María had come to the cowshed where Agnes was working, and told Agnes that she had... (full context)
Truth and Liberation Theme Icon
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Names, Superstition, and Christianity Theme Icon
Class, Colonization, and Hierarchies of Power Theme Icon
Agnes had no opinion of Natan at that point. María told her that Natan had left Rósa and bought his own farm near Worm’s. Natan... (full context)
Literacy, Language, and the Icelandic Landscape Theme Icon
That afternoon, Agnes and María worked hard to get ready for the feast. Later that night, the servants celebrated amongst... (full context)
Chapter 8
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Class, Colonization, and Hierarchies of Power Theme Icon
...Agnes that he needed a new housekeeper. They walked together back to the house, passing María and Pétur on the way. (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
...for killing animals for fun. Agnes says she walked Natan to Worm and then rejoined María in the field. Agnes told her about Natan’s visit and María told Agnes to be... (full context)
Women, Violence, and Innocence Theme Icon
Class, Colonization, and Hierarchies of Power Theme Icon
Tóti and Agnes resume their talk. Agnes says she thought that María was jealous because Agnes was the one getting Natan’s attention, and because they both knew... (full context)