Teddy Tesfa
Ms. Jenkins
World Lit/Comp 6th
December 12, 2016
A Troubled Soul

Even a good man can make poor decisions. The story "What You Pawn I Will Redeem " is
narrated in the perspective of the main character, a middle-aged man American Indian named
Jackson Jackson . He is a Spokane Indian who is originally from Spokane but moved to
Seattle to attend college but eventually dropped out after two semesters. Jackson Jackson is a
homeless alcoholic who is on a quest for self-value where the protagonist does his best to
reclaim his culture, traditions, and identity by reclaiming his grandmothers lost regalia.
Jackson encounters his grandmothers regalia at a pawn shop and sets out on a
quest to raise 1000 dollars to buy it back. The story focuses on the obstacles Jackson faces
and the humor he uses to get through his difficult situation. Through his journey he
encounters many friends who later help him achieve his goal. The title "What You Pawn I
Will Redeem " suggests a kind of dialogue between the old and new generations. It is the new
generation who blames the old one for losing the land and culture and con firms at the same
time that they will reclaim them no matter what it costs. The new generation is embodied in
Jackson to show the will and determination to get back his lost heritage. Although he is
miserable , alcoholic and homeless, he focuses on his goal. How ever, Jacksons condition is not
his own choice, but it is what society imposed upon his as also other Native Americans.
Alexie begins his story with " One day you have a home and the next you don't". This
sentence explicitly exposes the state of homelessness that Jackson lives in, as well as
implicitly exposes the cultural aspect of homelessness the Native Americans live as they are
linked to an unfortunate past of cultural denial and stolen land property.

T hroughout this literature Alexie relates the history of the Nativ e American
people as a whole through the actions of Jackson and shows his resentment against the whites.
Alexie also sheds light on the problem of alcoholism among Native Americans as it makes
them astray between a dark gloomy history and an unknown future within the whites' hands.
Jackson like other Native Americans in the piece are alcoholics . He later confesses the impact
alcohol has on him "an alcoholic Indian with a busted stomach, I always hope I can keep
enough food in me to stay alive".

In conclusion, Alexie created a protagonist who represents the condition of the
Native Americans, who share the same qualities and values of those who live in the
reservations and are determined to fight to the end to prove that Native Americans do really
exist .