What You Pawn I Will Redeem Summary

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Sherman Alexie’s “What you pawn I will Redeem,” delves into a man’s journey to reclaim his culture, tradition and identity. The story is told through a character Jackson Jackson, a homeless alcoholic who descends from a Spokane tribe of Native Americans who stumbles upon his grandmother’s regalia at a pawn shop. Sherman’s use of obstacles and wry humor as a survival mechanism is superb. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, “in January 2014, there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States.” (HUD) NEED stronger thesis, A question needs or statement needs to be made here. In the beginning of the story Jackson introduces his Indian friend, he says that his friend refuses to specify…show more content…
The protagonist blames the elders for losing the land and culture while at the same time confirming that he and others like him shall reclaim them both no matter what it costs. Is Alexie embodying Jackson with this new generation to show will and determination to encourage those to get back what is lost? Or can this be seen as another part of human nature, the incessant need to feel whole. As you read this narrative you get the sense that Jackson is trying to fill this hole or void. Sherman wants the reader to think beyond the literal meaning of the word homeless. Through statements such as “I’ve been disappearing ever since” (Alexie, 13) and “I’ve been killing myself ever since she died” (Alexie, 24). Jackson refers to pain throughout his life possibly to show how the word homeless can have two profound meanings. Is his condition by choice or is this what society has imposed upon him and many other Native Americans? Alexie begins his story with “One day you have a home and the next you don’t.”(Alexie 1) this sentence as well as, “being homeless is probably the only thing [he’s] ever been good at” (Alexie 1) explicitly exposes the state of homelessness that Jackson lives, as well as exposing the cultural aspect of homelessness of Native Americans as they are linked to an unfortunate past of cultural denial and stolen

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