Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo


George Saunders

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Lincoln in the Bardo: Chapter 97 Summary & Analysis

Litzie and Mrs. Hodge discuss the shocking news that they’re dead, and both of them resolve to depart. When Mrs. Hodge asks Elson Farwell if he’ll come with them, he says he intends to stay, for “if such things as goodness and brotherhood and redemption exist, and may be attained, these must sometimes require blood, vengeance.” As such, he decides to stay until he has had his revenge “upon someone.” Accepting this, the two women leave their friend, respecting his wish to stay as they embrace and succumb to the matterlightblooming phenomenon.”
The fact that Elson Farwell doesn’t join his friends in departing this realm simply goes to show that not all the Bardo-dwellers are ready to leave. Although many strong-willed souls have decided to move on after Willie’s revelation, many others are still too preoccupied with whatever it is that’s keeping them in this liminal space. For Farwell, that preoccupation is the idea that someone should pay for the dismal way he was treated while still alive. Seeking “vengeance,” then, he refuses to leave.
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