Rising action and climax of "What You Pawn I Will Redeem."

The rising action in Sherman Alexie’s short story might be the scene in the bar. The bar scene is rather tumultuous and intense, and it seems to lead to the climax when Jackson passes out on the railroad tracks. If the amiable police officer didn't discover Jackson, something gruesome might have happened to him. After the officer and Jackson part ways, the actions subsides. Finally, Jackson achieves resolution by getting his grandma’s regalia back.

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Identifying the rising action and the climax isn’t always easy, particularly in a short story such as Sherman Alexie’s “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.”

As you might have noted, there isn’t so much action in the story as a series of events and reminiscences. Remember, Jackson Jackson is trying to collect enough money to buy back his grandma’s stolen regalia from the pawnshop. Yet every time Jackson seems to get his hands on some money, he spends it. He buys alcohol, breakfast, or McDonald’s cheeseburgers.

Jackson’s inability to hold on to the money makes it hard for the action to rise. However, there is a moment when the action finally seems to gather momentum. You might think of the bar scene as the raising action. You could argue that all of the day’s money-chasing leads to the bar scene in which he has a passionate encounter with Irene. It also causes him to wake up on the railroad tracks.

Perhaps the climax could be the scene when the amiable police officer finds Jackson on the railroad tracks. That is to say, this is the crisis. If the cop doesn’t discover Jackson, something horrid might have happened to him. As Jackson says, “I should have been a railroad-track pizza, a double Indian pepperoni with extra cheese.”

Yet the interaction with the cop seems to settle Jackson down. After the cop drops him off, the falling action seems to take over. He hangs out with some Aleuts, eats breakfast, and then finally finds resolution by reacquiring his grandma’s regalia.

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