“In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried” originally appeared in TriQuarterly magazine in It was reprinted in Editors’ Choice: New American Stories. Annotations of “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried”. NC. Nicholas Cato. Updated 27 March Transcript. And fear Mirror Theory: Mirrors allow us to . “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried” is a short fiction story by author Amy Hempel. It was first published in TriQuarterly magazine in , reprinted in.

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Alternately, the narrator uses humor as a form of denial, like when she reads an item from the newspaper about a man who robs a bank with a chicken.

Why has it taken her so long to make this visit? Yet this is a kind of minimalism that robs us of nothing, that has room for the largest themes; the best of these stories have a compression that seems to capture it all.

A subtle universality of feeling infuses the more fully realized stories, transcending the cliche— or forcing it to underscore and serve a greater truth. And who cemeteyr there that can say I did not?

Born December 14,in Chicago, Illinois, Amy Hempel moved to San Francisco as a teenager and attended several California colleges during an academic career that saw frequent interruptions. All stories by decade.

In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried

Can sanity exist in a senseless world? Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. The most loathsome moment in the guried comes at the end when she tells the story of the birth of a baby to that other liar, the talking chimp. However, since many critics view the minimalist style as outdated, this has put an unfavorable spin on her work.

In the Cemetery where Al Jolson is Buried by Amy Hempel | Short Story Recommendation

This line of reasoning leaves no room for commitment to another, for instance. The story opens with the unnamed narrator visiting her friend, who is bugied unnamed, in a hospital near Hollywood, California, where the friend is dying, presumably of cancer. Suntan oil and sand and surgical masks and oxygen tubes exist all in budied same world, and part of the maturation process is understanding how this can be so.


There is nothing wrong with humor, but when that humor acts as a curtain behind which deeper feelings are hidden and kept from influencing decent behavior, then that humor can be harmful.

Or, at least, it must not be so hard to face.

She tells a story of a story that was told to her—a tale now twice removed from reality—about a man who was frightened to death by the grossness of an injury he received in a car wreck. Robert Peltier is an English instructor at Trinity Ni and has published works of both fiction and nonfiction.

Their communication remains superficial; it would be too dangerous otherwise. Some of them seem merely to be vehicles designed to transport us to the oracular punchline, but fail to lend it resonance along the way. Hempel credits Lish with bjried had a special influence on her work. Because she is afraid. In a black comedy, an author will frequently make fun of things of a serious nature, such as illness, death, or disease.

Do insects get wet? Limbo seems like the only honest place to be in these stories. In fact, the danger springs from forgiving: This is a work to which young adults can readily relate. They can take your breath away, so in tune are their resolutions with everything that has gone before.

Marcus Welby, MD, a television show starring Robert Young, aired from tojolsom be remembered by almost anyone who had been in college during the early s, as the narrator and her friend were.

This unnamed woman is the friend whom the narrator visits in the hospital.

If nature—and by extension, God—is false, then there really is nothing to believe in. When she arrives, her friend is wearing a surgical mask, and so must she. They establish the emotional climates in which these characters survive. The dying woman engages in trivial conversation and ghoulish jokes in dealing with her situation.

Even though the tale jn not pertain directly to her dying friend, it symbolizes how obsessed with death the narrator cemeetery. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Minimalism has its uses, and can achieve surprisingly varied effects: Didion uses the agglomeration of concrete details to much the same end, but manages to infuse the facts themselves with a simultaneous wonder and irony, to convince the reader that everything she describes, from a hydraulic power plant to a waiter in Zipaquira, Colombia, whree a singular phenomenon with its own body of lore.


Primary Source Reasons to Live.

If there is only death, what difference does it make what we do in life? In this story, the narrator uses black humor in an effort to ease her fear of death. Black humor is comedy of a situational or conversational nature that concentrates on morose.

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Commentary This story is an intriguing, frank, and pithy rendering of complex reactions to the dying of loved ones.

“In the Cemetery where Al Jolson is Buried”

But the stories have, at least for the moment, done their dirty job: Two months, and how long is the drive? Hempel has compressed the narrative until every unnecessary and distracting detail has been squeezed out. Judy Sobeloff is a writer jolsin educator who has won several awards for her fiction. It causes burier to stop talking even though there is no microphone to pick up what she is saying. The details are perfectly rendered, quintessential California cliches; and yet they are also the truth.

The alternately wise and wise cracking narrators provide ironic commentary, letting us in on the action and on a store of little-known facts: During a time of extreme sadness or danger, people will often ceemetery jokes and talk about trivial things.