In Sherman Alexei’s 2003 short story “What You Pawn I Will Redeem,” the narrator, Jackson Jackson, begins his odyssey with the proviso that he will not share with the reader the reason for his being homeless:
“I’m not going to tell you my particular reasons for being homeless, because it’s my secret story, and Indians have to work hard to keep secrets from hungry white folks.”
What follows, however, is a tale that begs the question: What can possibly be more personal or possibly embarrassing and worth keeping secret than what he confides in the remainder of the story? Apparently, plenty. Jackson’s story of his efforts at securing the $1,000 needed to purchase his grandmother’s long-lost regalia from a local pawn shop is one of continuous irresponsibility – a condition greatly enhanced by his alcoholism – but also of his eminent decency. Every bit of money he attains goes to alcohol or, in one instance, to treat some homeless Aleuts from Alaska to breakfast at...
(The entire section contains 679 words.)