What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie

1130 Words 5 Pages
Sherman Alexie writes in his story, What You Pawn I Will Redeem about a homeless Salish Indian named Jackson Jackson. Alexie takes readers on Jackson’s journey to acquire enough money to purchase back his grandmother’s stolen powwow regalia. Throughout the story, Jackson’s relationships with other charters ultimately define his own character. Alexie, a well know Native American author tells an all too common tale of poverty and substance abuse in the Native American community through his character Jackson. The major character flaw of Jackson is his kindness, which ultimately becomes his greatest asset when fate allows him to purchase back his grandmother’s powwow regalia from a pawn broker for only five dollars.
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Jackson lives in Seattle, Washington. Jackson was originally Spokane, but traveled to Seattle twenty-three years early to attend college before dropping out. His character is described as having working numerous blue collared jobs, having been married multiple times and fathering multiple children. In the story, Jackson eludes to himself having a mental disorder. His character is extremely resourceful with both food and personal care. In the story, Jackson reveals a bit about himself through his introduction of other characters. Jackson states “Indians are great storytellers and liars and mythmakers” (87).
Jackson’s dilemma begins when he and his friends pass a pawn store window and he notices powwow dance regalia in the storefront window that he recognizes belonged to his grandmother. The powwow dance regalia had been stolen years before, but Jackson is confident that he recognizes the regalia from photos. In an effort to prove the powwow dance regalia belonged to his grandmother, he tells the shop owner that he will find a yellow bead sewn on the inside. While the shop owner is sympathetic to Jackson’s situation, he explains that he has paid one-thousand dollars for the regalia, and can’t give it away. He does however offer to discount the price by one dollar.
In developing the character of Jackson Jackson, Alexie gives him characteristics that while positive on the surface; often times lead to additional obstacles
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