Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo


George Saunders

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Mary Todd Lincoln Character Analysis

President Lincoln’s wife, and Willie’s mother. When Willie dies, Mary takes to her bed, unable to get up even for the funeral. Lying under sedation, she has no idea that Lincoln leaves the White House in the night to visit Willie’s crypt. In the Bardo, presumably heaven-sent beings visit Willie in Mary’s form, comforting him and beckoning him to move on from this transitional realm, though Willie can sense that these beings aren’t actually his mother.
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Mary Todd Lincoln Character Timeline in Lincoln in the Bardo

The timeline below shows where the character Mary Todd Lincoln appears in Lincoln in the Bardo. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Unity Theme Icon
...Years in the White House,” by a former slave who eventually became the confidante of Mary Lincoln . In this excerpt, she explains that President Lincoln is expected to “give a series... (full context)
Chapter 18-19
Transition and Impermanence Theme Icon
Empathy and Equality Theme Icon
Loss Theme Icon
...habits, which often made him “wild, naughty, [and] overwrought.” In the aftermath of his death, Mary Lincoln lies “insensate” as the President groans in grief. The evenings, it seems, are hardest for... (full context)
Chapter 56-58
Loss Theme Icon
...not returned to the White House at two in the morning. The guard considers waking Mary Lincoln , but can’t bring himself to trouble her, since she’s in such an intense state... (full context)