Summaries of Sherman Alexie's 'What You Pawn I Will Redeem' and Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Third and Final Continent'
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Part I: "What You Pawn I will Redeem" by Sherman Alexie
The homeless narrator of the short story "What You Pawn I will Redeem" by Sherman Alexie is an intelligent, articulate man who has fallen into the trap of alcoholism and despair. He believes that he has no future and no identity in a city filled with homeless, cast-off Indians. No one takes notice of him, anymore, he says, although he does seem to have some friends, including a policeman who asks Jackson Jackson at one point why he is wasting his life away. However, the policeman a problem with addiction himself, in the form of sweets he shouldn't be eating because of his diabetes and weight problem. Although Jackson has a sharp sense of humor, he seems unable to 'follow through' with anything. At the beginning of the story, when trying to redeem his grandmother's regalia from a pawn shop, the first thing he does is purchase 'liquid courage' (alcohol) with the little money he possesses. But some of the money he manages to gain and lose over the course of the narrative he spends in compassionate ways, such as when he buys some food for his fellow Indians.
At the end of the story, although Jackson has no money he has clearly learned a great deal, based upon his struggles, and has found a sense of something worthwhile to fight for in life. Eventually, the pawn shop owner decides to give Jackson his grandmother's regalia. This illustrates the fact that Jackson is not invisible as he once feared. He can win the respect