Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Burial Rites

Plot Summary Part 4

Later, Fridrik wakes her up and asks her to look at Natan's body to see if he is dead yet. Fridrik smacked him to the head with a hammer but isn't sure he finished the job and wants Agnes to check him out. What kind of a wimpy killer is Fridrik?
And by the way, another guy named Petur was also killed, but he wasn't having sex with anyone so isn't as important.

Anyway, Agnes sees that Natan is still alive, but he is choking on his blood. Feeling that he is suffering, Agnes takes a knife and stabs him dead.

This was the most surprising part of the book. I thought the whole story was leading up to an explanation of how Agnes was falsely accused of murder. But no, the story was exactly as we were told on page one--Agnes was guilty of murder. What, then, was the purpose of the entire book? To show us why Agnes killed Natan? Because she "supposedly" thought he was suffering after being smacked in the head with a hammer? Was that worth writing over 300 pages about? This complete lack of any plot development was very, very disappointing.

Click here to see the rest of this review

When the time comes for Agnes's execution, Toti, the priest she has been talking to, gets her drunk on brandy, heh heh. Agnes asks if the execution can be delayed, because she's "not ready", as if she has the choice of scheduling her own execution.

First they execute Fridrik. There is a big chopping sound as they cut his head off! Then they chop off Agnes's head. Then they put their heads on spears and display them to the townsfolk. Not joking!

The end.

Literary Criticism:

This book was a complete waste of time. I was expecting a story showing why Agnes was unfairly convicted of murder, or at least showing some partial justification for what she did. Natan was an asshole, treating her poorly, and boning Siggi as well, but Agnes did not have to stay with him. She chose to be there. And nothing Natan did was deserving of death.

And so Agnes was guilty as charged, and what was the point of the book, except to give us several hundred pages of tending a farm and random musings about ones' past? That combined with the ridiculous setup of the story--having a convicted killer work on a farm with young children, made the entire book both ridiculous and uninteresting at the same time.

Click below for more about Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Plot pg1 Plot pg2 Plot pg3 Plot pg4
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian