Burial Rites Landscape and Weather

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How does Hannah Kent make the landscape and weather an integral part of the novel?

Amidst the journey of the last woman executed in Iceland is the ‘nature [that] is watchful of all of us.’ Kent parallels the protagonist Agnes’ story alongside the force of the harsh Icelandic climate and country that ‘is as awake as you and I’ and often determines key events in the novel. The ominous foreshadowing of death represented in elements of the landscape highlights how the country is an essential aspect of the novel, often adding to the dramatic effect. Agnes’ road to spiritual redemption, both religion based and personal, is greatly influenced by the natural occurrences of the country. Ultimately, the harsh Icelandic conditions impact the lives
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Agnes’s spiritual ‘atonement’, helping to ‘guide her home’ is regularly influenced by the state of the weather and natural occurrences on the landscape. Agnes is offered two experiences of redemption in the novel. One being predominately religious, aided by reverend Toti and the other being sense of belonging and acceptance to a family. In this heavily Christian society, Agnes is given a ‘spiritual advisor,’ who takes on the responsibility to ‘save her.’ As Agnes’ begins to confide in Toti and learn to rely on him the weather gradually becomes increasingly ‘miserable’ rendering it difficult for the two to meet. At the climax of the novel, ‘travelling to Kornsa in this unfit weather’ has resulted in Toti’s ‘fever’ leaving Agnes ‘scared’ and deprived of her confidant. Despite Toti representing her divine redemption, the two form an alliance stemming from predominately companionship, demonstrated when Toti ‘forgot’ his New Testament at home when going to meet Agnes. Additionally, Agnes is emotionally redeemed when experiencing a sense of belonging at Korsna. Amidst the natural process of childbirth occurring in the landscape Agnes aids the ‘newborn’ by recognizing it is in ‘breach.’ This

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