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What You Pawn I Will Redeem

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on 8 April 2015

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Transcript of What You Pawn I Will Redeem

Plot Overview:
Jackson Jackson, a Spokane Indian from Washington state is challenged to obtain $999 within 24 hours in order to reclaim his grandmother's powwow regalia.
The Story's Origins
Form of the Story
-Indian Identity
-Heritage (Regalia)
-Distinguishing from "White Folk" (14)
-Loneliness vs. Unity
-Broken Hearts/Romance
-Jackson's Judgements (of others)
Sherman Alexie
- Born in October, 1966 and grew up on Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA

- Born hydrocephalic, survived surgery, began to devour books

- Attended Reardan High School, Gonzaga University, Washington State University

- Originally started writing poetry, expanded to short stories and novels

-Currently lives in Seattle with his wife and son

Sherman Alexie
What You Pawn I Will Redeem
Presentation by: Tommy Clarke and Courtney Morin
Bibliographical Information

-Structure: Chronological, diary-like pieces divided by hours
-Plot Construction:
-Cyclic (with regard to transactions of money)
-Supporting stories embedded within Jackson's larger story
-Imagery: Yellow Bead, $5, Railroad Tracks
-Narrative Voice: first person limited (Spokane Indian)

Indian Identity
Passage A: (Jackson and his Aleut cousins)
"Was that the last song?" I asked.
"We sang all the ones we could," the elder Aleut said. "The others are just for our people."
I understood. We Indians have to keep our secrets. And these Aleuts were so secretive that they didn't refer to themselves as Indians.
"Are you guys hungry?" I asked.
They looked at one another and communicated without talking.
"We could eat," the elder Aleut said. (28-29)
Passage B: (Jackson and the white police officer who saves him from train tracks)
"You're a good cop," I said.
"Come on, Jackson," he said. "Don't blow smoke up my ass."
"No, really, you remind me of my grandfather."
"Yeah, that's what you Indians always tell me."
"No, man, my grandfather was a tribal cop. He was a good cop. He never arrested people. He took care of them. Just like you."
"I've arrested hundreds of scumbags, Jackson. And I've shot a couple in the ass." (25)
Loneliness vs. Unity
Passage A:
"Rose of Sharon was gone when I woke up. I heard later that she had hitchhiked back to Toppenish and was living with her sister on the reservation." (16)

Passage B:
"I wanted to share the good news with Junior. I walked back to him, but he was gone. I heard later that he had hitchhiked down to Portland, Oregon, and died of exposure in an alley behind the Hilton Hotel." (21)

Passage C:
"I said farewell to the Aleuts and walked toward the Pawnshop. I heard later that the Aleuts had waded into the saltwater near Dock 47 and disappeared. Some Indians swore they had walked on water and headed north. Other Indians saw the Aleuts drown. I don't know what happened to them." (30)

Passage D:
"I looked for the pawnshop and couldn't find it. I swear it wasn't in the place where it had been before ... But that pawnshop seemed to have sailed away like a ghost ship. I wanted to cry." (30)

Other Passages: (21top, 21bottom, 28bottom)
Does Jackson consider himself a
Passage A:
"No," he said. "That's not fair. The pawnbroker didn't know it was stolen. And, besides, I'm on a mission here. I want to be a hero, you know? I want to win it back, like a knight." (27)

Passage B:
He closed his eyes and thought harder about the possibilities. Then he stepped into the back room and returned with my grandmother's regalia.
"Take it," he said, and held it out to me.
"I don't have the money."
"I don't want your money."
"But I wanted to win it."
"You did win it. Now take it before I change my mind."
Publishing Information:
First Published:
-April 21, 2003
-The New Yorker
-Ten Little Indians
What does Jackson mean by "good"? Do you agree with his qualifications?
Does generosity play a role in the story?
Full transcript