Historians describe Willie’s temporary tomb. “Nothing could have been more peaceful or more beautiful than the situation of this tomb and it was completely undiscoverable to the casual cemetery visitor,” they write, “being the very last tomb on the left at the extreme far reaches of the grounds.”
By detailing the aspects of Willie’s interment, Saunders emphasizes the feeling of loss surrounding the child’s death. Normally in the company of his parents and various White House staffers, now Willie’s body lies secluded from everyone he knows and loves. In turn, Saunders invites readers to empathize with Abraham and Mary Lincoln, who are now forced to live without their son.