Similarity Between What You Pawn I Will Redeem and the Lesson

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

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.

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