Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo


George Saunders

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Lincoln in the Bardo: Chapter 86 Summary & Analysis

Once more, historical writings describe Willie’s descent, explaining how his fever eventually developed into typhoid, which “works slowly and cruelly over a period of weeks, depriving the victim of digestive function, perforating the bowels, causing hemorrhaging and peritonitis.” As Willie lay in pain, he was unable to “recognize the distracted loving face of the tall man who bent over him.” Before long, his “eyes went dim,” and a “death-dew gathered on his brow.”
This section is chiefly expository, providing readers with a glimpse of Willie’s death and the days leading up to it. Like many of the other portions of historical excerpts, this chapter relates to what’s happening in the plot, since Willie is currently in the midst of listening in on his father’s thoughts as Lincoln considers the boy’s last moments among the living.
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