What You Pawn I Will Redeem Analysis

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In his short work, “What You Pawn I Will Redeem”, author Sherman Alexie presents an audience with a range of controversies, a defining trademark of this Spokane writer. In this work, a reader follows the homeless Native, Jackson Jackson, through the streets of Seattle on a quest to regain his grandmother’s powwow regalia. Heavy recurring elements of poverty and alcoholism run their course throughout this short story. When observing the representation of his own culture within the text, a question is raised: Does Alexie’s narrative perpetuate damaging Native American stereotypes or destroy them? Readers meet Jackson Jackson, or Jackson Squared, the homeless Indian within the first passage. “One day you have a home and the next you don’t,…show more content…
But, these cracks do not break the golden heart that his actions frequently prove. This spirit is truly what captures a reader. When he wins one hundred dollars on a lottery ticket, he urges the grocery clerk keep twenty dollars of his portion. His personal philosophy insists, “When you win, you’re supposed to share with your family.” (Alexie 12) Soon after, he spends all of his lottery winnings buying the entire bar a round of drinks. When he comes upon another twenty-five dollars, he buys breakfast for the Alaskan Aleuts from the dock. He treats this meal in a celebratory fashion – a feast. It is this honorable attitude toward others, which echoes Native American tradition, that engages the reader. In addition to this aspect, another moment lets a reader further into this multi-dimensional man. As he spends time sitting in front of the sea with the lonely Aleuts, he asks them to sing. He longs for his grandmother as he listens to their “strange and beautiful” hymns, letting the music move him. (Alexie 22) Another thing to consider is Jackson’s disapproval of police help to gain back the stolen regalia in a legal manner. He does not blame the pawnbroker for this situation. This quest for a sacred family heirloom is solely one he must do on his own. “I'm on a mission here,” he explains to the white Officer Williams. “I want to be a hero, you know? I want to win it back like a knight … It has been a long time since I really cared about something” (Alexie

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