Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo


George Saunders

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Lincoln in the Bardo: Chapter 59 Summary & Analysis

Still writing to her brother, Isabelle Perkins notes that she must have fallen asleep. Waking up and resuming her letter, she guesses it’s nearly four in the morning. Noticing a small horse tied to the cemetery fence, she wonders who has come to the graveyard at this time of night. She writes that she can see Manders’s light on in his house across the way (at the edge of the cemetery), where she watches him pace back and forth before finally venturing into the darkness and disappearing with a lantern, most likely seeking the mysterious “midnight visitor.” Overcome by curiosity, Isabelle decides to stay awake to “glimpse the face of [the] visitor once Manders retrieves the fellow.”
By showcasing Isabelle’s interest in seeing who has come to the graveyard so late at night, Saunders spotlights the extent to which people are fascinated by each other’s hardships. In the same way that the nation at large can’t help but talk constantly about the president and his sorrowful loss, Isabelle finds herself naturally drawn to the “midnight visitor” and the sadness that must have led him through the cemetery gates at this time of night.
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