Left to Tell

by

Immaculée Ilibagiza

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The Rosary Symbol Analysis

The Rosary Symbol Icon

The Rosary is a set of prayers Catholics recite, and the term also refers to the string of beads and crucifix held while reciting these prayers. Throughout Left to Tell, the Rosary symbolizes Immaculée’s commitment to her Catholic faith and her family. As Immaculée reiterates throughout the book, she credits her survival of the genocide to her faith in God and to the Roman Catholic teachings with which she was brought up. Even when the world is crumbling around her, Immaculée finds peace through her Rosary. It reminds her of the most familiar, constant, and fundamental parts of her life: God, her religion, and her family. Indeed, one particular Rosary is especially significant in the book—the Rosary that Leonard gives Immaculée just as the genocide is beginning. Throughout her time hiding in Pastor Murinzi’s bathroom, Immaculée clutches this Rosary, and it reminds her that even though she is trapped in a room full of strangers, she is never really alone. God is always with her, and, in a spiritual sense, so is her father and the rest of her family—even after they perish.

The Rosary Quotes in Left to Tell

The Left to Tell quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Rosary. 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:
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hay House edition of Left to Tell published in 2006.
Chapter 10 Quotes

It was past noon, and I'd been praying the rosary since dawn for God to give His love and forgiveness to all the sinners in the world. But try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to pray for the killers. That was a problem for me because I knew that God expected us to pray for everyone, and more than anything, I wanted God on my side.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Rosary
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Rosary Symbol Timeline in Left to Tell

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Rosary appears in Left to Tell. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Off to University
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...will protect them. Brother and sister pray on the side of the road, holding their rosaries. The Interahamwe demand to see their ID cards, but eventually let them pass. (full context)
Chapter 6: No Going Back
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...all die. He encourages those listening to repent and pray for forgiveness. Leonard lifts his rosary in the air and declares that it does not matter whether they live or die;... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...it to Leonard and asks him to wear it. In return, Leonard gives her his rosary. Immaculée promises that she will always keep it with her. (full context)
Chapter 11: Struggling to Forgive
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée is praying with the rosary when the killers return to search the house. She always struggles with the part of... (full context)
Chapter 19: Camp Comfort
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...kill those who murdered Immaculée’s family, and Immaculée is momentarily tempted. However, she touches Leonard’s rosary and reminds herself that the killers aren’t evil—they have just strayed from God’s path.     (full context)
Chapter 20: The Road to the Rebels
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...his eyes. She can see that he doesn’t really want to kill; she clutches her rosary and tries her hardest to send a message of God’s love to the man. He... (full context)
Chapter 21: On to Kigali
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...job, home, or money—not even any belongings except the clothes she is wearing and Leonard’s rosary. (full context)
Chapter 22: The Lord’s Work
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...she should go back to Kigali. Immaculée stands at the roadside and prays, holding Leonard’s rosary. Soon after, a colonel approaches her and takes pity on her, mistaking her for a... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...has delayed because of the unbearable sorrow it will bring them both. She puts Leonard’s rosary on the table beside her and begins to write “the saddest letter I have ever... (full context)