Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites and Its Social Impact

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

I feel honoured to be here today introducing to you the lovely Hannah Kent. You may know Miss Kent from her world-renowned book Burial Rites. Burial Rites has been translated into more than 28 different languages and has won numerous awards over the years. Hannah Kent’s novel was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s prize and the Guardian First Book Award. Burial Rites won the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year, the Victorian Premier’s People’s Choice Award, the Indie Awards Debut Fiction Book of the year, just to name a few. But today Miss Kent is here to receive the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Burial Rites. As you are all aware, the Pulitzer Prize is an award for outstanding achievement in journalism, literature or music. So it is no surprise that Miss Kent has been nominated for this award.

Miss Kent’s book is a must read for young adults and above. This is due to the extensive impact Burial Rites places upon the reader. Burial Rites provokes the idea of all is not as it may seem as Agnes constantly wishes people would sit down with her and allow her to speak out. Forgiveness was clearly tough to earn in the eighteen-eighties. Justice, social status and male sexual dominance are all main themes in the novel that are still highly debated topics in the 21st century. Miss Kent was not afraid to speak out about these issues and this is why her novel is so gripping.

Miss Kent was drawn to the idea of writing a novel about the life of a woman facing the death penalty after her visit to the scene of a female execution centre in a deserted area of Iceland. Her novel portrays a sympathetic image of main character, Agnes. Whereas, society viewed her as an “inhumane madwoman.” In the novel, Agnes visibly has very little power and is continually subject to male-controlled double standards, manipulation and in extreme circumstances; abuse. It is evident that in the 18 hundres, males claim ultimate authority and certainly cannot be questioned. Whereas, through the growth and development of our nation we can confidently say for the most part this doesn’t happen nowadays.

Another main theme in the novel Burial Rites is sexual dominance. Miss Kent is able to sensitively tackle this painful topic through the undercurrent of feminism encouraging readers to sympathize with the suffering Agnes faces due to her gender. Agnes is raped and harassed by men numerous times and is constantly branded as a “whore”. However, Miss Kent promotes reflection towards the undeserved male dominance in society. It is no wonder that I can proudly stand here today introducing to you Miss Kent who is receiving her first Pulitzer Prize.


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