In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried Essay

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Robert Peltier is an English instructor at Trinity College and has published works of both fiction and nonfiction. In the following essay, he discusses the nature of truth as it is regarded by the characters in this "postmodern" story, ultimately stating that the narrator's belief in her "language of grief' is a lie.

Beneath the wisecracking humor and even beneath the despair and fear in Amy Hempel's "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried," there is a deeper bleakness that is both dangerous and forgiving. In fact, the danger springs from forgiving: forgiving oneself for reprehensible behavior because we live in a postmodern world where nothing much matters anyway. There are no truths, there is no meaning to life, there is only death at the end, so what could possibly matter? The danger that springs from this kind of thinking is obvious in this story and...

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This section contains 1,927 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried Study Guide
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In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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