© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


Quote #10

I hadn't come to be coddled or hear the battle described to me—I'd come to see the horrors of war for myself. To see what others had suffered these three long years, while I had remained behind the walls of warmth and plenty. Try as they might, the officers couldn't discourage me from peeking over the parapet to watch boys line up and ceremoniously shoot one another—to see them blown apart by [cannon fire] and run through by bayonets. (12.4)

As president, Abe has some duties towards, well, every American. (He promised to make us all pancakes.) So notice how Abe puts this: other men are dying while he has "remained behind the walls of warmth and plenty." Since Abe is in charge of this war, he seems to feel some duty to face the same problems as the soldiers. Or is this, in fact, just a form of suicidal feeling because he's so sad? Duty or depression? You make the call.

back to top