Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo


George Saunders

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Lincoln in the Bardo: Chapter 64-65 Summary & Analysis

Once again, a crowd forms around the white stone home, since news of Lincoln’s return spreads quickly. “All craved the slightest participation in the transformative moment that must be imminent,” says Vollman, and Bevins notes that the souls have “abandoned any pretext of speaking one at a time,” such that there swells a great “cacophony” of voices as people launch into their stories. Before long, though, the crowd begins shouting, saying, “No, no, it [is] not appropriate,” as a number of black souls approach the group and talk to Willie. “Let them have their chance,” somebody calls out. “In this place, we are all the same.” And though this remark is met with scorn, Bevins notes that “several men and women of the sable hue” are determined to “have their say.”
In this moment, readers see that the Bardo is not a unified place. Rather, the divisions and racist narratives at play in the living world have made their way into this realm, despite the fact that all the souls are more or less in the same spiritual or existential situation. Though some recognize this fact—saying, “In this place, we are all the same”—others are unwilling to give up the bigoted notions they’ve carried into the Bardo.
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