In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried

What is the author's style in In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried by Amy Hempel?

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"In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried" is told in the first-person point of view by an unidentified female narrator. At times the voice telling this story seems to move into a narrative technique known as stream-of consciousness—the literary attempt to reproduce the pattern of a mind in unchecked thought, simultaneously moving in multiple levels of awareness, issuing an uninterrupted flow of sensations, thoughts, memories, associations, and reflections.

In this story, the narrator uses black humor in an effort to ease her fear of death. And the sick woman, ironically, uses it to put her friend at ease, too, like when she wraps the phone cord around her neck or exclaims, "Oh, you're killing me." A further irony in the story is the metaphor of the hospital as a television set, a place for actors. The narrator and her friend assume the role of actors, yet their situation is real.


In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried