What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie Essay

What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie Essay

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Sherman Alexie writes in his story, What You Pawn I Will Redeem about a homeless Salish Indian named Jackson Jackson. Alexie takes readers on Jackson’s journey to acquire enough money to purchase back his grandmother’s stolen powwow regalia. Throughout the story, Jackson’s relationships with other charters ultimately define his own character. Alexie, a well know Native American author tells an all too common tale of poverty and substance abuse in the Native American community through his character Jackson. The major character flaw of Jackson is his kindness, which ultimately becomes his greatest asset when fate allows him to purchase back his grandmother’s powwow regalia from a pawn broker for only five dollars.
AUTHORS HISTORY
Sherman Alexie grew up in Wellpinit, Washington as a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene tribal member (Sherman Alexie). He began his personal battle with substance abuse in 1985 during his freshman year at Jesuit Gonzaga University. The success of his first published work in 1990 incentivized Alexie to overcome his alcohol abuse. “In his short-story and poetry collections, Alexie illuminates the despair, poverty, and alcoholism that often shape the lives of Native Americans living on reservations” (Sherman Alexie). When developing his characters, Alexie often gives them characteristics of substance abuse, poverty and criminal behaviors in an effort to evoke sadness with his readers. Alexie utilizes other art forms, such as film, music, cartoons, and the print media, to bombard mainstream distortion of Indian culture and to redefine Indianness. “Both the term Indian and the stereotypical image are created through histories of misrepresentation—one is a simulated word without a tribal real and the other an i...


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...er’s regalia. “Alexie’s protagonists struggle to survive the constant battering of their minds, bodies, and spirits by white American society and their own self-hatred and sense of powerlessness (Sherman Alexie). While While While




Works Cited

Baxter, Corby. Indi'n Humor, Tricksters, and Stereotype in Selected Works of
Gerald Vizenor, Thomas King, and Sherman Alexie. Diss. U of Texas: Arlington, 2012. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Lliu, K., and H. Zhang. "Self- and Counter-Representations of Native Americans: Stereotypical Images of and New Images by Native Americans in Popular Media." Ebscohost. University of Arkansas, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014
"Sherman Alexie." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
"Unit 2: Reading & Writing About Short Fiction." ENGL200: Composition and Literature. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 49-219. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.

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