What You Pawn I Will Redeem Questions and Answers
by Sherman Alexie

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In Sherman Alexie's "What You Pawn I Will Redeem," how is Jackson alienated from the community? How does he respond?

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The short story "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" by Sherman Alexie tells of a Native American homeless alcoholic named Jackson Jackson. He finds his grandmother's regalia, worn in ceremonial dancing, in a pawnshop and becomes determined to claim it. The shop owner tells Jackson that the regalia is worth one thousand dollars, so Jackson embarks upon a quest through the streets and hangouts of downtown Seattle to try to raise the money. On the way, he meets and interacts with a fascinating group of characters.

Jackson is alienated from the community in several ways. First of all, he is a Native American of the Interior Salish people. In a humorous but tragic way at the beginning of the story, he explains that there are many homeless Indians around Seattle and that white people see this poverty as "the terrible fate of the noble savage." Jackson responds to this alienation by attempting to reclaim whatever he can of his ancestral culture. In the story, it is his grandmother's regalia. When he...

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