Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo


George Saunders

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Lincoln in the Bardo: Chapter 99 Summary & Analysis

In the logbook, Manders confirms that Lincoln has finally left the cemetery. He notes that he saw Isabelle Perkins in her house as he locked the gate, saying that she called out to ask if it was the president who’d just rode away. He admits that talking to Isabelle is sad, since he has known her since she was a child and now she’s an adult but hobbled by illness, hardly able to walk. Calling across the street in the darkness, he advised her to shut the window because it was cold, and she thanked him for his concern “and said it was a sad thing wasn’t it about Pres’s son.” Manders agreed, and Isabelle said the child is probably in a better place. Saying that he “hoped and prayed so,” Manders’s words “hung” in the air, as if his and Isabelle’s voices were the last ones on earth.
This is an incredibly human moment, as Manders and Isabelle briefly bond over the tragedy of Willie’s death. In turn, Saunders shows that unity often arises in periods of sadness and melancholy. Since both Manders and Isabelle stop to empathize with the president, they find themselves suddenly connected to one another.
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