For some, running away from reality is better than facing the facts. By refusing to acknowledge what is brought before them and shift it to their own reality, only then can they handle what is happening. This is portrayed throughout the short story, In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried, via the narrator. The author, Amy Hempel, uses the narrator in this way by revealing how the narrator acts from one scene to the next. She distracts herself from her friend’s sickly state by talking about chimps that can talk with their hands, the earthquake, flying, and the beach. At one point the narrator is not strong enough to stay by her best friends deathbed and leaves to party her fears away. It is shortly after that scene that the narrator mentions her friend’s death she cannot get over. Instead she reminisces about the useless topics she talked with her best friend about, trying to come to terms with the reality that has been set before her. Like with any death, many people don’t want to accept the loss of their loved ones and will even refuse it. Most come to terms with the reality of what has happened, but there are a few that instead want to run from the truth. They may take up drinking, drugs, or any other distraction to relieve them from the reality of the situation. The narrator just needs to be strong enough to accept what has happened and move on for the better for her sake and her for friend’s.
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