What You Pawn I Will Redeem
Similarity Between What You Pawn I Will Redeem and the Lesson
Wealth is not equally distributed and hard work can one day earn the kids great things In the two stories, Jackson and Sylvia both have something that symbolizes something that very important to them. Since they have trouble with money, they cannot afford the item that has great importance to them. No matter how hard they work to earn the money to pay for the item, it just won’t be enough. Stories use symbols to make the writing unforgettable, it gives the meaning to the story. In both the short stories What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie and The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara, have many symbols to represent the ideas. Each story has a reason for continuing. In What You Pawn I Will Redeem, Jackson, a homeless man misses his family dreadfully but he has nothing to remember they by until he discovered his grandmother’s powwow regalia. That regalia gave him the reason to work as hard as he can to earn money to buy it back from the pawn shop owner, who said that he would have to pay $1000 for it. In the short story, The Lesson the kid’s tutor brings them to a toy story far away from their neighborhood. All the toys there are way too expensive to actually be played with, Sylvia really wants the toy boat, but there is no way she could ever afford it. She says that she will work as long as it takes to make enough money to buy the toy boat. Like Jackson in What You Pawn I Will Redeem, Sylvia wants something that is way too expensive but no matter how much money Jackson and Sylvia both works to earn money there is no way that they could save up the amount they need because they need money to buy food and water or in Jackson’s case, waste it all the money on alcohol. These items, the regalia, and the toy boat might mean something really important to Jackson and Sylvia but to someone else, they don’t mean anything. Throughout both stories, the readers learn that wealth is not equally distributed and hard work can one day earn them great things
In the story What You Pawn I Will Redeem, there are many symbols but the main one of the story is the Regalia. Jackson is a homeless man who has a family but has friends but they keep leaving or dying. All Jackson wants is something to remind him of his family, like his grandmother’s powwow regalia. Which he found in a pawnshop, all he wants to do is get it back because it was stolen from his grandmother fifty years ago. That regalia symbolizes his family that is why it is so important to him, but to the pawn shop owner, it’s just some random dress. Jackson knew it was his family’s regalia because his “family always sewed one yellow bead somewhere”(11) on the regalia. The pawn shop owner said he bought it for $1000 dollars and he wasn’t going to give it to him for free so he gave Jackson 24 hrs to find $1000. He gave him $20 to help get him to get started with finding the money. The pawn shop owner knew that he wasn’t going to save the twenty dollars, he knew that Jackson was going to waste all his money on alcohol. Jackson has all these friends that kept giving him money because they felt bad for him. The police officer gave him $30 and said: “I believe you’ll take my money and get drunk on it.”(25) the policeman was right. Jackson tries so hard to make money to pay for the regalia because it symbolizes his family but no matter how hard he tries, he’ll just keep spending the money he earns or the money that people keep give him because he is not used to having money to spend. He wanted to win back the regalia he could have just gone to the police and reported it stolen to get it back, in the beginning, but he didn’t. Instead, he goes back to the pawnshop after the 24hrs are up, with $5 that he worked hard for. Jackson didn’t believe he deserved to have the regalia but the pawnshop owner said “you did win it. Now take it before I change my mind.”(28) Jackson was overwhelmed he finally had a part of his family back in his life.
Sylvia and the rest of the poor, uneducated lower class city kids in the story The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara, is brought to a toy story by Miss. Moore. A teacher who felt that it was her duty to help unprivileged kids learn about where they are on the social ladder. She brings the kids to a toy store far from the neighborhood. The toy store has many expensive toys/items that symbolized the fact that wealth is not equally distributed and hard work can one day earn the kids great things Sylvia doesn’t understand the point of buying a paperweight that cost so much because while there are people that can afford expensive paperweights there are others that can’t even afford a desk. The other kids discover a sailboat in the window. The sailboat symbolizes freedom and the journeys that lie in front of the kids. Sylvie, like the other kids, don’t understand why the boat cost $1195 when “you can buy a sailboat set for a quarter at Pop’s?”(66) The rich and the poor live completely different lives. What type of society is it “when some people can spend on a toy what it would cost to feed a family of six or seven.”(69) Money doesn’t affect people. Yes, rich people can buy whatever they want because they have the money to. But poor people can also be happy with the amount of money they have. The expensive toy sailboat shows that wealth is not equally distributed and hard work can one day earn people great things.
Jackson and Sylvia aren’t as fortunate as the people around them. They live in poor neighborhoods or don’t even live in a house. Both Jackson and Sylvia really want something that is too expensive. Throughout the story, they learned that wealth is not equally distributed and hard work can one day earn the kids great things. Jackson wants to buy back his grandmother’s Powwow regalia but he can’t afford it, but he still works hard to earn money, Same with Sylvia, she is brought to a toy store and finds a toy sailboat that is way out of her price range. The boat is about the cost her family spends on feeding her whole family for a whole year. Jackson and Sylvia live in very different societies compared to the people around them. But it doesn’t stop them from working hard to getting what they want.
My Opinion About What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie
The short story What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie was a very great and eye-catching story that I truly enjoyed. It depicts a young character Jackson squared also known as “Jackson Jackson “ a Spokane Indian boy from Seattle who is on a journey to regain his grandmother’s regalia. Throughout the book, Jackson squared is faced with many adversities that are keeping him on the path and prolonging his goal that he so desperately wishes to reach. While his intentions are both good and reasonable, Jackson is too friendly and has let his alcoholism interfere with his goals without seeking help.
After numerous attempts at the lottery ticket Jackson Jackson finally won and had in his possession him 5 20 dollar bills. Unfortunately due to his kindness, he was down 1 bill leaving him with $80,” Thank you,” I said and gave her one of the bills” (84). In the story, Jackson has let his addiction interfere with his goals. When he earns the money from winning the lottery he goes and starts wasting it as if it had no value, “eight dollars on the bar top” (85) he goes on a drinking spree and proceeds to drink 80 shots “ me and all my cousins are going to drink 80 shots” (85).
There are many different diverse themes in the story but the one that stood out to me the most is perseverance. The word perseverance according to the dictionary is “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” Throughout the story Jackson was indeed impersistence. He had 24 hours to come out with a sum of 999$. There were times where he should have kept his money but due to his generosity and alcoholism this was a very hard task. Although we have to give Jackson the benefit of the doubt due to the fact that not many people would have endured through the impossibility of coming up with 999$ in less than 24 hours, especially considering the odds against him in the sense of him being a homeless alcoholic. The vast majority of people would have given up without even trying. Jackson, however, not only tried to accomplish the goal, but does it with extreme optimism.Jackson simply has so much endurance when faced with adversity that he genuinely feels he can win against such insurmountable odds. I personally believe that I can relate to Jackson due to the fact that I currently play football which is a sport where many challenges occur. In life we are faced with many rigorous challenges but the way you attack those challenges says a lot about your character. The shorty teaches us that we should never give up when times are hard we should keep striving and never forget our goal.
There are many literary elements in the story, but I’ve picked the ones that stood out the most which are symbolism and imagery. For symbolism “my family always sewed one yellow bead somewhere on their regalia.but we always hid it where you had to search hard to find it”. The Regalia is somehow a symbol to Jackson’s Patrimony. He takes Amit if pride in his heritage that’s why he really wants to regain it. Another example is imagery. “Rose of Sharon is a big woman, about 7 feet tall if your measuring overall effect, and about 5 feet tall if you’re talking physical about the physical. She’s a Yakama Indian of the Wishram Variety. Junior is a Colville,but there are 199 tribes that make up the Colville, so he could be anything. He’s good looking, though, like he just stepped out of some “Don’t litter the Earth public service advertisement’. He’s got those great big cheekbones that are like planets, you know with little moons orbiting around them” (80). This is a representation of Jackson’s Friends companions. This helps us get an image of Aboriginal people and what there like physically and culturally. Through the story we learn that Rose and Junior abandoned Jackson”Rose of Sharon was gone when I woke up. I heard later she had hitchhiked back to toppenish and was living with her sister on the reservation” (82). “I wanted to share the good news with Junior. I walked back to him, but he was gone. I later heard he has hitchhiked down to Portland,Oregon,and died of exposure in an alley behind the Hilton Hotel”. I find this very ironic due to the fact that friends are supposed to help each other and they were supposed to help him but left unexpectedly like Rose of Sharron who left without saying goodbye. But through all the adversities Jackson still managed to achieve his goal which is to regain his grandmother’s regalia so I believe that the meaning of the short story/theme is perseverance. The author is trying to portray a message which is don’t give up when things are hard, keep working and good things will happen. We can take Jackson as an example he kept working hard and finally got back his grandmother’s regalia and was dancing at the end.
What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie was personally one of the most interesting short story that I have ever read. I would strongly recommend this text to many of my friends. I took away lots of things from my short read that I can apply in my day to day life. The white man came to New France and took everything from the natives and won, but Jackson took back something even more precious, which is his heritage so he won.
Conflicts in What You Pawn I Will Redeem and a Rock Trying to Be a Stone
A literary analysis examines the literal techniques of a story. The authenticated methods that will be a review in this research will be exposition the rising action of the problem or the conflict, as well as the climax, the falling action, and the resolution. With external conflict and internal conflict. The conflict in “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” written by Sherman Alexie exhibits the man against himself conflict. In the other short story “A Rock Trying to Be a Stone” written by Sergio Troncoso. Shows conflict in individual versus the individual. Through analyzing both stories with a critical look, we can explore the different conflicts and reflect on different cultures and their society through literature work. Of different perspective though the authors in the world we now live in or the world in a different era of time with literary techniques. In this paper I will discuss the conflicts of one man’s struggles with doing what is right or what is wrong as well as the conflicts with three Latino boys and a mentally challenged boy with doing the right thing are the wrong thing. Through analyzing the various literal elements in two stories the climax to show the high point of tension that points out the conflicts and the falling action as well as flashbacks so one can see how the theme is pottrayed in both stories.
There are similarities in both of the stories and how the authors represent a conflict. Troncoso uses three young boys and a mentally challenged boy that live on the border of Mexico. To show the conflict in the story between the boys and them doing the right thing by the mentally challenged boy. Moreover, how society looks at individuals that come from the other side of the frontier. He also shows the conflict of how people judge other people’s character on how they look. One of the mothers ruled one of the boy’s character by the way he looked she called him “Cholo” and told her son to stay away from him.
However, then there was another boy named Fernandez? Although this boy was manipulative and not a splendid person, the mother thinks that he is a better person than the other one because of the color of his skin. That shows how society judges individuals upon the way they look and the color of their skin even if they are from the same culture background.
The other Arthur represents a conflict between the person and himself as well as a society. In the story, “ What You Pawn I will Redeem” is written in the first-person by a homeless man who talks about how he is a Native American and there is a lot of homeless Native Americans in Seattle, Washington. Alexie, uses the first paragraph and tells us “one day you have a home and the next day you don’t, but I’m not going to tell you my particular reason for being homeless, because it’s my secret, and Indians have to work hard to keep secrets from hungry white folks” (Alexie, 2003. para.1). Alexis also uses a realistic approach to the white attitudes of that period. Both authors use conflict in different ways with their characters in the stories, but the conflict is about racial attitudes about one another and the conflict with themselves from doing right or wrong.
In “What you Pawn I Will Redeem” and “A Rock Trying to Be a Stone” plot is used as we find the events and then the conflict develops with both Arthur’s using flashbacks. In the first story, Alexis uses flashbacks Although Alexie uses flashbacks as part of his theme. And the conflict because the man in the story whose name is “Jackson” “Jackson” is thinking about his grandmother. Moreover, remembering her and her powwow regalia. In the story, he goes back and forth to the past and back to the present time in the story (Alexie, 2003).
Troncoso uses flashbacks in very vivid moments almost next to none. Although they both use setting to develop the theme and the setting also has a lot to do with the conflict where the battle takes place, and Troncoso uses setting in a more descriptive way than Alexie. They both use imaginary because the Arthurs give their audience the feeling of being there at that time and moment.
In the story “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.” The Arthur Alexie demonstrates the man against himself conflict. The main character Jackson is a homeless Native American in Seattle, Washington. Alexie paints a picture for the audience to what it may be like walking as a homeless man. “Homeless Indians are everywhere in Seattle we are ordinary and annoying, and you walk right on by us, with maybe a look of anger or disgust or even sadness at the terrible fate of the noble savage” (Alexie, 2003. para. 4). Alexie, the writer, also uses flashbacks he tells us stories of his grandmother as he goes back in time while thinking about it (Alexie, 2003).
The author also uses irony in a verbal and dramatic situations. He uses setting at the very start of the story in which starts a noon. Moreover, that is how the plot starts off. We learn that Jackson Jackson grew up in Spokane, Washington, and he moved to Seattle twenty-three years ago. He flunked out of college after only two semesters. Then he “worked “various blue- and bluer- collar jobs, married two or three times, fathered two or three kids, and then went crazy” (Alexie, 2003. para. 1).
Now the plot is coming together, and we can already see a conflict. Moreover, then we learn he has been homeless for six years. He is probably the most effective homeless man if there ever was an effective, homeless man (Alexie, 2003). He strolls the streets with a regular squad the Arthur uses setting to describe the other characters. Rose of Sharon, Junior, and he refers to himself as me. He refers to his- self as the after Columbus arrived Indian, and he refers to his friend Junior as a before Columbus arrived Indian. Moreover, then he says, “I am living proof of the horrible damage that colonialism has done to us skins” (Alexis, 2003. para.6).
However, that is where the conflict of how society looks at them or they feel how society is looking at them. This whole story started at lunch time when him and Rose of Sharon, Junior, were planning the handle down at Pike Place Market. After they had negotiated, they had earned five dollars. Alexis uses imagery the way the words are used to planted it in the audiences head as we learn how he walks past this pawnshop that they have never noticed before. Jackson Jackson thinks this is strange because they never noticed it “because Indians have a built-in pawnshop radar”( Alexie, 2003. para. 7). Imagery is used with the yellow bead the five dollar bill and the railroad tracks.
In the window, he observes an old powwow-dance regalia. He claimed it to be his grandmother’s that had been stolen fifty years ago. They went to the pawnshop, and the clerk greets them and he tells everybody that the powwow in the window is his grandmother’s, and it had been taken fifty years ago. The clerk wants to know how he comes to this conclusion.
So he tells the clerk that they have a particular yellow bead that sewed into the powwow, and they inspected it; sure enough there is a yellow dot. Moreover, then we Come to find out the clerk had paid a thousand dollars for the powwow. So he tells Jackson Jackson that he will sell it to him for a thousand dollars. Jackson only has five dollars the clerk makes Jackson a deal and tells him if he could be back in twenty-four- hours he could buy that powwow back for nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars.
This is where Alexi starts to show the conflict in Jackson, because he needs to earn the nine hundred ninety-nine dollars and his crisis is that he keeps wasting it on booze and food. The Arthur shows Jackson as both the protagonist and the antagonist. Although Jackson Jackson gains money throughout the day, but not enough money. However the money he does make. He seems to be generous and buys everybody drinks and the money is gone. He is trying to get the money to get his grandmother’s powwow back the conflict is never resolved with the resolution to the storekeeper giving Jackson the powwow.
In reading the “A Rock Trying to Be a Stone” written by Sergio Troncoso. The Arthur demonstrates the conflict of crisis and resolution in irony. The conflict is between individual versus society and individuals against individuals. Although the central battle is between three Latino boys and a mentally challenged boy.
The three Latino boys take the mentally challenged child as a “prisoner” this starts off as a game and turns into a dangerous situation. Troncoso uses setting by describing the atmosphere in the society that they lived. The conflict resolved with Chuy:
“Chuy fell right on top of the blaze outside the car door, his leg still tied up to what was left of the front seat, and the poor bastard wiggled crazily on top of the fire and hissed and screamed until his burned-up flesh stunk so much that you couldn’t smell the slimy water in the ditch anymore. Then he stopped moving and flare up like a Duraflame” (Troncoso. 1997. p.7).
The different ways the Arthur’s use conflict although they both used external conflict and internal conflict within the characters. Troncoso uses three boys against one mentally challenged boy by taking him prisoner. That is one way that Arthur used external conflict Alexie showed external conflict through the community and one of the bar owners that beat him up. Both arthu’r use the outdoors as setting and they use it the same way. The external conflict that Alexie used with Jackson Jackson is struggling with his own mixed up feelings because he had to make decisions between the right thing to do are the wrong thing to do. Troncoso uses the external conflict in the same way. Because the three boys have to make a decision to do the right thing are to do the wrong thing. However, the boys did not do the right thing they did the wrong thing by taking (Troncoso S. , 2011) a mentally challenged boy as a prisoner.
Both Arthur’s want to share their stories Troncoso he writes to rejoice his ethnic background as well as his culture (Troncoso S. , 2011). Alex’s writes stories that investigate issues of disregarded people and their lives as well as the issues of poverty he did this by showing the stories of homeless people and their lives as well as their struggles. Although, he is showing poverty he is also on a quest for identity and to salvage his culture and their ethnicities.
In the story “A Rock Trying to Be a Stone” this story came to an end with Turi telling us the story and how the cops found Chuy dead and they were looking for Joe. He told the police officers that he had not seen Joe he never even told his mother the story. Although he says, “I should have told them that there was another stupid idiot in the neighborhood, and his name was Horacio Fernandez” (Troncoso, 1997. p.9). Fernandez was still doing drugs. However the one boy Turi had never seen Joe again and did not know if he ever made it to Mexico. Although when he saw Fernandez he punches him so hard that he has a scar to show years later.
Both stories had an ending different from one another the audience would say one was a happy ending, and the other was a sad one. Although one taught a lesson, and the other kindness for Jackson Jackson learned compassion. Moreover, Turi learned that no matter where the audience comes from or what color the skin may be there is always a way to do something with life. If there is effort put forward.
Physical and Emotional Journeys in Joyce Carol Oates’s and Sherman Alexie’s Short Stories
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates and “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” by Sherman Alexie are short tales of two different kinds of journeys, one emotional and the other physical. The protagonist of Oates’s story, Connie, is a rebellious fifteen-year-old girl who encounters her worst nightmare (a man who calls himself Arnold Friend) (Oates 1409). He tries to lure Connie out of her house to go for a “ride” with him (1412) and even threatens to hurt her family if she refuses (1417). Jackson Jackson (or Jackson Squared), Alexie’s protagonist, is a homeless, drunk Indian man who lives in Seattle, Washington (Alexie 1433-1436). “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” is a more light-hearted tale of Jackson’s twenty-four-hour quest to earn $999.00 to buy back his grandmother’s stolen regalia from a pawn broker. Despite the glaring differences between these stories, both protagonists, Connie and Jackson, are lonely and exhibit the fatal flaw of failing to recognize consequences.
Even though Connie has friends, she is emotionally lonely and very insecure. She compares herself to others to make herself feel better. The main target of these judgments is Connie’s “plain and chunky and steady” (Oates 1408) older sister, June. Connie feels alienated from her mother who pays more attention to June (1408) even though Connie feels she is better and more deserving because she is prettier than her sister. Connie also turns to music to lift her spirits. While home alone, she turns on the radio to “drown out the quiet” (1411). Connie’s haughtiness because of her good looks and popularity likely makes it difficult to make friends, making her loneliness her own fault.
For the majority of “What You Pawn I Will Redeem,” Jackson is also lonely. While Alexie gives him many companions, most of Jackson’s friends disappear by the end of the story. After getting drunk and falling asleep, Jackson finds out that one woman, Rose of Sharon, “had hitchhiked back to Toppenish and was living with her sister on the reservation” (Alexie 1436). Junior, another companion, hitchhikes to Portland and dies in an alley (1441). A group of Aleut Indians who live on the dock also disappear (1448). Jackson has been married to several different women and fathered several children, none of whom he remembers (1433). His only real friend is a cop named Officer Williams. Williams rescues Jackson from a dangerous situation of his own making (1443), agrees not to admit him to a detox center (1445), and even gives him thirty dollars to put towards his quest (1446). Unlike Connie’s, Jackson’s loneliness seems inherent to his homeless, vagrant nature.
Connie does not assume that there will be any consequences to lying to her parents and going to the restaurant instead of the mall. If she had stayed at the mall and seen a movie like she told her parents she would, the encounter with Arnold Friend may never have happened. Connie also chooses to stay home alone while her parents and sister go out to a barbeque (Oates 1410). This leaves her especially vulnerable when Arnold Friend, a full-grown man posing as a teenager, arrives (1411). Connie does not sense any danger until it is too late. She lies and says her father is coming back for her (1417) but, Arnold Friend knows better than that. In fact, he even threatens to hurt her family if they return home before Connie comes out of the house (1418). If Connie calls the police, Arnold Friend warns that he will barge into the house (1416). Finally, because she can think of no other alternative, Connie steps out of the house and into Arnold Friend’s arms (1420). Because Connie does not foresee consequences, she puts herself in severe danger.
In Alexie’s story, Jackson repeatedly makes poor choices, overcome by his desire for food and liquor. Whenever he earns any money, instead of saving it to put toward buying back the regalia, he immediately gives it away or spends it on himself and others. For example, in a show of good faith, the pawn broker gives Jackson twenty dollars which he takes straight to the 7-Eleven to buy “three bottles of imagination” (Alexie 1436). After winning one hundred dollars in the lottery, Jackson gives twenty to a cashier at a Korean grocery store and blows the rest on drinks for himself and all the patrons at an Indian bar (1440-1441). He even gets so drunk at the bar (another short-sighted decision) that he ends up falling asleep on the train tracks (1443). When Jackson first walks into the pawn shop, he has five dollars. Twenty-four hours later, after earning $156.50, he walks back into the same pawn shop with only five dollars (1448). However, even though Jackson is so wasteful, he is still rewarded with his grandmother’s regalia in the end (1448-1449). While, like Connie, Jackson does not recognize consequences, he is surrounded by people like Officer Williams and the pawn broker who are kind to him.
At the end of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Connie chooses to go with Arnold Friend instead of waiting and taking the chance that he could hurt her family. Knowing this and the fact that Oates is a gothic writer who based Arnold Friend on a real serial killer (Schilb, and Clifford 1407), the reader can safely assume that things would end very badly for Connie. In Jackson’s case, the story would be similar, though probably not as violent. While Alexie’s protagonist does get the regalia in the end, it is not because he earns it. It is only out of the kindness of the pawn broker who gives it to him free of charge (Alexie 1448-1449). Jackson does not change his vagrant, drunken ways and would probably lose the regalia again one way or another. Based on the poor choices Connie and Jackson have made in the past and may continue to make, the reader can guess that the future will not bode well for either protagonist.
Concept of Chivalry in Sherman Alexie’s What You Pawn I Will Redeem
The definition of chivalry from dictionary.com is the sum of the ideal qualification of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms. Another definition of chivalry is related to the medieval institution of knighthood which has an aristocratic military origin of individual training and service to others. Chivalry was also the term used to refer to a group of mounted men-at-arms as well as to martial valor. It is often associated with ideals of knightly virtues, honor and courtly love.
In the story “What You Pawn I will Redeem” the main character Jackson also known as Jackson-to-the-second-power whom is homeless finds his grandmothers memorabilia in a pawn store that Jackson and his friends happen to pass while walking around. In this story the idea of chivalry would be Jackson trying to get his grandmothers memorabilia back. Jackson is a homeless man but still at any means necessary, he is still trying to retrieve the memorabilia. Being homeless makes things a little more complicated because recently he does not have any money. The pawnbroker told him that he would sell it to him for nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars. Jackson starts out with five dollars and throughout the story he does gain some money by stealing his friend’s dollar bill out of his sock and then again when he wins some money. Even though Jackson does gain money throughout the story he continually spends the money he earns/steals/wins right away after he gets it. This is his pattern throughout the story and I believe that has something to do with him being homeless, he does not usually have money so when he gets it he eats which I don’t blame him there and other various acts including buying drinks for his fellow Indians. Still he wishes for his grandmothers memorabilia. By no means even if Jackson saved all the money he did have, he still would not have enough to buy it from the pawnbroker. I believe the chivalry in this story is that he keeps trying to get the memorabilia back. Native Americans are sensitive on their rituals and traditions and making outfits to dance for the rituals that they do is important to them. The outfits themselves say something about the family and their tribe. As Jackson said, his family put one single yellow bead on everything they made so that way the memorabilia could be identified back to his family. He kept to get the memorabilia back because the outfit was important and meant a lot to his grandmother. Family means a lot to Jackson as you can tell by reading the story.
Personally, I really admire Jackson even though he does not overcome his homelessness he does end up getting his grandmothers memorabilia back. I really enjoyed this story because of the pawnbroker was the kind of person that thought of all the possibilities that could have happened to Jackson while trying to earn money to get his grandmothers memorabilia back. I am not sure why the pawnbroker gave his grandmothers memorabilia back, I know that Jackson was honest but I think the pawnbroker was almost amused with Jackson and all the possibilities that could have happened in just one day.
On the other hand the chivalry in “I’m a Mad Dog Biting Myself for Sympathy” Erdrich’s main character and his girlfriend Dawn broke up some time ago for unknown reasons. Erdrich’s point of view would be that the toucan is a prize and he is trying to court Dawn and get her back to be a hero or a knight in shining armor. Even though he never makes it to Dawn that is exactly what is going through Erdrichs’ characters’ mind. The toucan might not mean anything to you and I but to him it means a whole lot more. I personally think that he is traveling so far and trying to away from the police that it also creates suspense. He never gets to Dawn to give her the toucan (prize) to be a hero; he actually loses the toucan in the middle of a police chase.
I understand him trying to get his girlfriend back by trying to be that knight in shining armor that every girl wants. At the same time I also wonder why a toucan but then I thought it was not about what he brought he was the fact that he stole it.
Jackson’s Transition In Alexie’s What You Pawn I Will Redeem
In Sherman Alexie’s short story “What You Pawn I Will Redeem,” the twenty-four hour journey that Jackson embarks on in reclaiming his grandmother’s regalia proves to do him way more good than he could have ever thought possible when beginning. Alexie uses the characterization of the main character, Jackson Jackson, in order to reveal the transformation he experiences throughout his journey. In short, Jackson is a homeless American Indian living in Seattle, Washington who goes through many trials over a twenty-four hour period in order to earn enough money to buy back his grandmother’s regalia which he has found in a local pawn shop.
Jackson’s original character proves to be one with absolutely no regard for family, but the moment he is introduced to the regalia this changes significantly. Alexie begins his story with a character who has a no-strings-attached kind of attitude towards life. He says at the beginning of his story how he has been married a couple of times and even fathered a few children, yet he seems to show absolutely no interest in who they are or where they are. While discussing his history and how he came to be a homeless man, Jackson mentions that “piece by piece, [he] disappeared” (Alexie). Just by this small piece of information, he is automatically alienated from what is perceived as normal by the reader. Not many people would nonchalantly say that they have just slowly let go of all their relatives. Obviously, at one point, family meant something to him, but over time it meant less and less and he started to drift away. This aspect of Jackson’s character plays a key role in recognizing the change that he eventually makes. When Jackson realizes that he has found his grandmother’s missing regalia in a pawn shop, he seems very concerned and goes straight in to discuss the matter with the pawn shop owner. It is here that the transformation being made in Jackson’s character becomes obvious. In order to prove himself, he tells the owner with a sense of pride in his voice that “my family always sewed one yellow bead somewhere on our regalia” (Alexie). Clearly family history means something to Jackson after all, because why else would he know this very specific piece of information about his grandmother’s regalia? It’s almost as if now that Jackson has something to work for, his sense of family and culture have flooded back to him. Because he has been homeless for so long, it is possible that he also lost touch with what it felt like to have a family and to have a past. The moment he sets eyes on this family heirloom it is evident that family actually does mean something to him, and thus his journey and transformation begin.
Throughout his twenty-four hour adventure, Jackson’s character also goes through personality change. At the very beginning, before the regalia has even come into the picture, Jackson gives us a little bit of background information on himself. At first he is characterized as serious by revealing to the reader that “being homeless is probably the only thing I’ve ever been good at.” This gives the reader a sense that Jackson isn’t the most confident person in the world and hasn’t necessarily ever had something to work for. The serious tone in his voice shows that this is not something that Jackson finds laughable. There is no way he has not ever been good at anything, but it is apparent that he has been dealt quite the rough hand over and over again which would cause him to feel this way. At first, his character seems rather pitiful and somber, but that also undergoes a transformation for the better. Over the course of his day, his friendly, humorous side becomes visible. Eventually, something that would probably be a big stressor for someone else, such as trying to come up with $999 within a twenty-four hour period, Jackson just seems to laugh off and make light of the situation. Even Officer Williams, the cop that woke him up, comments and asks him “How the hell do you laugh so much? I just picked your ass off the railroad tracks, and you’re making jokes. Why the hell do you do that?” (Alexie). For the cop, and for the readers, it seems strange that Jackson is able to laugh about such serious stuff. First of all, he is homeless and has basically nothing to his name and at the same time is very concerned about buying back his grandmother’s regalia, yet he still finds time to laugh and have a good time. There are obvious reasons for his change of heart and change of attitude: he now has something to actually work towards.
Jackson’s perspective on the world and people who are different than him also changes from beginning to end. At first, he is characterized as a person that would not look twice at someone who isn’t an Indian. Before starting his story, he mentions that “Indians have to work hard to keep secrets from hungry white folks” (Alexie). From this comment it is obvious that Jackson has some issues with whites. His homelessness most likely plays a huge role in this attitude. While living on the streets, the treatment he got from those more fortunate than him, in this case it would be white people, caused a bitterness that is hard to get rid of. The moment he finds the regalia though, this aspect of his character seems to improve rather quickly. He now has to rely on others to find different sources and outlets to earn money, and beggars can’t be choosers. Although he does tend to still hang out with primarily Indians, he must seek help from others. After his many ups and downs throughout the day, Jackson comes to the conclusion that there are some good people out there (Alexie), and race doesn’t determine that. It isn’t until a serious time of need comes up that one realizes there is more to people than what is on the outside. His change in character is proved through his willingness to show compassion and understanding towards a different group of people, which all came about through the journey in reclaiming his grandmother’s regalia.
In conclusion, it is indisputable that Jackson transforms throughout the story in a multitude of ways. He goes from someone who shows absolutely no regard towards family to wanting to protect and redeem a precious family heirloom; he goes from someone who is down in the dumps about his life in general to a very lively, funny human being; he goes from someone who would not look twice at a person different than him to relying on others and noticing the good in everyone. All in all, it is safe to say that the character of Jackson Jackson faced an incredible improvement over the course of his twenty-four hour journey.
The Theme of Perseverance in What You Pawn I Will Redeem, a Short Story by Sherman Alexie
Life is full of situations that challenge people to overcome the odds and achieve what they thought was impossible. Such is the case in Sherman Alexie’s short story, “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.” The narrator is faced with what seems to be an impossible situation – to come up with $999 in just 24 hours to obtain his deceased grandmother’s stolen regalia from the owner of a pawnshop to whom it had been pawned. These insurmountable odds bring out the best in the otherwise flawed narrator, Jackson. Jackson is a homeless alcoholic whose disease has almost cost him his life. Nonetheless, Jackson rises above his circumstances and show three tremendous qualities while overcoming his extremely difficult task. He shows endurance through hard times, generosity in spite of dire financial need, and patience with other people along the way.
The first of Jackson’s astonishing characteristics in the face of adversity worth considering is his tremendous ability to endure through impossibilities. Almost anyone in Jackson’s position – being able to buy back his deceased grandmother’s stolen regalia – would have desired to accomplish the goal. However, not many people would have endured through the impossibility of coming up with $1,000 cash in less than 24 hours, especially consider the odds against him in the sense of him being a homeless alcoholic. Most people would have given up without even trying. Jackson, however, not only tries to accomplish the goal, but he does so with extreme optimism. Consider, for example, when Alexie tells us that Jackson buys two lottery tickets, each with a possible winner of up to $500, and scratches them off hoping to win the necessary $1,000 to accomplish his goal. It is arguable that he is delusional; however, one could likewise suggest that Jackson simply has so much endurance in the face of adversity that he genuinely feels he can win against such insurmountable odds. Despite all practical notions to the contrary, Jackson seemingly glides from one deadbeat endeavor to the next with a nonchalant, carefree approach that borders on self-deception but nonetheless leads him on with endurance despite the odds that are stacked against him.
The second of Jackson’s outstanding characteristics that come to the surface during his struggles is his financial generosity. It would be easy for someone in his situation to hoard every penny possible in order to try to get as much of the necessary $999 as possible. Jackson, on the other hand, does exactly the opposite. Rather than hoard his money, he gives it away. When he gets $100, for example, he gives $20 back to the woman and keeps the $80 for himself. However, he doesn’t even spend the $80 on himself but rather buys drinks for the other people in the bar. According to De Leon, good short stories are those that portray “characters with real desires” (2016). Alexie does just that in a superb fashion by juxtaposing Jackson’s real desire to get money quickly for his grandmother’s regalia with his extreme generosity. It has been said that money doesn’t turn one into someone else; it simply reveals who the person already is. The same has been said about adversity. With those two thoughts in mind, it seems that Jackson is inherently a very generous person. When both adversity and money fall into his lap at the same time, he shows himself to be a generous giver rather than a stingy hoarder.
The final amazing characteristic of Jackson that comes to life during his adversity is his patience with other people along the way. He had two friends to help him on his journey, Rose of Sharon and Junior. Very soon into their quest to obtain the money, however, Rose of Sharon leaves and Junior passes out drunk. Most people would become very upset in such a situation. They would get angry at Sharon for “abandoning” them and would accuse Junior of “leaving them at their work moment” as if he purposely chose to hurt them by getting drunk and passing out during their time of need. Jackson, however doesn’t respond in such a manner. He speaks well of both characters. In fact, he justifies and makes up reasons as to why Rose of Sharon left. Additionally, he continuously checks to make sure Junior is still breathing thereby taking responsibility to help and protect his drunk friend in spite of the weight upon him to get so much money so quickly. Jackson, therefore, shows tremendous patience with both of his friends.
Overall, it is important to note that this story is told as a story. It is a first-person account that is related as if the narrator where sitting across a coffee table telling the reader what happened to him at a certain time in the past. This is evident in the text when he says “This whole story really started at lunchtime…” The reason this is important to point out it that the story shows a lot about the thoughts of the narrator. For example, Ebenbach points out that “stories reveal what we believe” (2010). Therefore, it can be assumed that the story the narrator tells reveals what he believes about himself. By reading the story, it can be inferred that he endured through tough times, he was generous, and he was patient. Therefore, not only do readers see these characteristics in the narrator, but the narrator actually sees them within himself. Jackson believes that despite all the odds against him, he is in fact a man of endurance, one who is generous, and certainly someone who is patient with those he loves.
Juxtaposing Sherman Alexie’s Short Story “What You Pawn I Will Redeem Against Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping
Lucille’s Quest to End Loneliness
In Sherman Alexie’s short story “What You Pawn I Will Redeem”, the main character Jackson Jackson goes on a “quest” to gather one hundred dollars in order to buy his grandmother’s pow wow regalia–which was stolen many years prior– from a pawn shop owner. Though he does not make the one hundred, the owner decides to give him the regalia anyway so he both fails and succeeds in his quest. He was not able to make the money, but his actual goal was to get the regalia back so he is in the end successful. In a similar fashion, Lucille, in Marilynne Robinson’s novel Housekeeping embarks on her own “quest” to have a stable home that will allow her to be accepted by the majority of her society so that she is no longer lonely.
It is apparent early in the novel that Lucille longs for the acceptance and company of people other than her aunt and sister. When the three are trapped in their home due to a flood Lucille is eager to leave and try to find other people. She refuses to play cards and tells her aunt, “I want to find other people” and even suggests how they might be found (Robinson 51). Sylvie responds that “it’s the loneliness. Loneliness bothers lots of people” and tells Lucille and Ruth a story about a woman she believed lost her children or never had them and made them up and was possibly the loneliest person she knew even though she was surrounded by others at train stations (Robinson 51). This ends up being true for Lucille by the end of the novel as she has lost her aunt and sister and both Sylvie and Ruth believe she is in Boston believing that she will no longer be lonely among all of the people, though she may in reality be lonelier now without the love of her family because all she has now is the company of strangers. In the final lines of the novel Ruth as the narrator writes, “No one watching this woman…[could] know how her thoughts are thronged by our absence, or know how she does not watch, does not hope, and always for me and Sylvie” (Robinson 157). Though Ruth suggests that Lucille does not watch or hope to see them, it is possible that Lucille is afraid to do these things because she believes that the two are dead and hoping that they may return is potentially more painful than simply accepting their deaths.
By the end of “What You Pawn I Will Redeem”, Jackson Jackson is overall successful in his quest because he leaves the pawn shop with his grandmother’s pow wow regalia even though he did not meet the terms that were initially set by the pawn shop owner. Lucille on the other hand was overall unsuccessful in her quest because her main objective was to no longer be lonely which is why she strived so hard to fit into society’s mold and expectations. Though she finds a stable home and is able to fit into the expectations of society, Lucille ends up arguably lonelier that she was before as she is surrounded by strangers who do not really know her and has alienated the few family members she had left by refusing to accept them as they were before they are assumed to have committed suicide.