Spokane vs Seattle

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Alexia Valentine
Rinehart-Johnson
ENC 1102 08B
2 April 2013
Modern Day Seattle vs. Historic Spokane
In Sherman Alexie’s short story, “What You Pawn I Redeem,” Jackson, the protagonist, must figure out how he can merge his Native American culture into modern day Seattle. The characters in this story have similar characteristics of real life Native Americans. According to The main character, Jackson Jackson, is part of the Spokane Indian Tribe but he has moved to a larger metropolitan area in Seattle, which is much different from the cultured-based Spokane Reservation. Most people move to a new area and have to deal with finding new friends and finding their way around town, but Jackson has bigger problem. He is caught up in his Native American culture and has not quite learned how to live the modern day lifestyle. The story shows that it is important that he keeps his culture alive without becoming separated from the modern world. Jackson is put to the test each and every day to find new ways to interact in the big city and figure out how he can mix his historic traditions with the contemporary civilization that is set in Seattle, Washington. He must adapt to a new culture without losing his own. The struggle to balance modern day living and the Native American culture in Seattle is revealed through the setting.

Seattle, Washington and Spokane, Washington are two opposite settings that Jackson is familiar with. He must find a way to intertwine the past culture of Native American Indians with Seattle’s present living style. In an interview, Alexie says, “it is great to talk about traditions and see them represented and to get a sense of history, but I think it is more important to change the possibilities of what Indians are and can be right now” (Hyrick 2). In this story, Jackson has to make changes in his lifestyle because things are different in Seattle. He has to deal with a larger populated city that is three times the size of Spokane. Seattle is a...
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