Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo


George Saunders

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The Vermonter Character Analysis

A bean-sized man with a Vermont accent who is embedded in the tendril that emerges from the ground and wraps around Willie. Like the other beings in the tendril, this man is in hell. In his case, he was damned because he engaged in sexual activity with children. Still, he insists to the Reverend, Bevins, and Vollman that he can’t be held accountable for his actions because he was born with certain “predispositions” that rendered him evil.

The Vermonter Quotes in Lincoln in the Bardo

The Lincoln in the Bardo quotes below are all either spoken by The Vermonter or refer to The Vermonter . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Unity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Lincoln in the Bardo published in 2018.
Chapter 80-81 Quotes

Whatever my sin, it must, I felt (I prayed), be small, compared to the sins of these. And yet, I was of their ilk. Was I not? When I went, it seemed, it would be to join them.

As I had many times preached, our Lord is a fearsome Lord, and mysterious, and will not be predicted, but judges as He sees fit, and we are but as lambs to Him, whom He regards with neither affection or malice; some go to the slaughter, while others are released to the meadow, by His whim, according to a standard we are too lowly to discern.

It is only for us to accept; accept His judgment, and our punishment.

But, as applied to me, this teaching did not satisfy.

And oh, I was sick, sick at heart.

Page Number: 268
Explanation and Analysis:

We were as we were! the bass lisper barked. How could we have been otherwise? Or, being that way, have done otherwise? We were that way, at that time, and had been led to that place, not by any innate evil in ourselves, but by the state of our cognition and our experience up until that moment.

By Fate, by Destiny, said the Vermonter.

By the fact that time runs in only one direction, and we are borne along by it, influenced precisely as we are, to do just the things that we do, the bass lisper said.

And then are cruelly punished for it, said the woman.

Page Number: 270
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Vermonter Character Timeline in Lincoln in the Bardo

The timeline below shows where the character The Vermonter appears in Lincoln in the Bardo. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 80-81
Transition and Impermanence Theme Icon
Vice and Virtue Theme Icon
...your loved one with poison, resolve to endure him.” A final voice—this one with a Vermont accent —adds, “Sexual congress with children is not permitted.” (full context)
Vice and Virtue Theme Icon of fairness,” the female voice says. “Did I murder Elmer?” she asks, and when the Vermonter says, “You did,” she asserts, “I did. Was I born with just those predispositions and... (full context)