Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel Setting

George Saunders
This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Lincoln in the Bardo.
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The Bardo

The bardo is a concept derived from Tibetan beliefs and culture. The word “bardo” translates to “intermediate state” or “in-between state.” Although this word is used in the title of the novel and not in the actual text, it is implied that the deceased characters of the novel inhabit a metaphysical state between death and reincarnation, similar to the idea of the bardo. In the novel, deceased characters inhabit the bardo until they are able to come to terms with their death and are willing to pass on into their next life. Children generally appear in the bardo for only a short time before passing on, but Willie Lincoln’s strong will holds him in the bardo for an abnormally long period of time. This is dangerous because the bardo tends to have ill effects on young people who stay there for too long.

Washington, D.C.

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This section contains 644 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel Study Guide
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