What You Pawn I Will Redeem
I found Sherman Alexie’s “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” particularly interesting in terms of style and voice. The narrator seems very nonchalant about all of the events that occur in the story. The main premise is that the narrator, Jackson, a homeless Native American, finds his grandmother’s regalia in a pawnshop and aims to buy it back from the owner. He can buy the regalia back for a thousand dollars, so he sets off to try and make the money. The interesting thing about the character Jackson, is that although getting back this regalia that once belonged to his grandmother is his main concern, his driving force, he doesn’t seem all that worried about the way he finds and spends his money. There are moments after he has set out to find the money where he spends any cash he comes up with on booze or food. It gives the reader a strange sense and wonder about how much Jackson really cares about the heirloom. You know he cares because he is thinking about his grandmother, he keeps talking about getting the regalia back, but any time he comes across obstacles or anyone along his path, like the Aleut Indians or the bar where he buys the large group of Native Americans drinks, he becomes easily distracted and spends his money almost willingly. Although some of his purchases and spending are generous and legitimate, it takes away form the effort the reader sees behind his motivation to get the regalia back. An important stylistic choice Alexie makes in this story is the nonchalant voice, that apathetic reactions Jackson has to most action in the plot. Jackson is extremely straight forward with the way his is feeling, with what he is thinking, and simply states these thoughts through simple syntax throughout the story. For example, at one point he states, “After eating, I walked outside and vomited on the sidewalk. I hated to lose my food so soon after eating it. As an alcoholic Indian with a busted stomach, I always hope I can keep enough...
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