What are some of the literary elements used in Alexie's "What You Pawn I Will Redeem"?

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Sherman Alexie's story "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" is a brief sketch of two days in the life of Jackson Jackson, a Spokane Indian who has seen his grandmother's powwow regalia in a pawnshop, and is trying to scrape together the money to buy it from the pawnbroker.

There are many literary elements at work in this story, so I've picked the most fundamental to focus on. I'd invite you to consider others, as well, particularly Alexie's use of language and point of view to create Jackson's reality, both as Jackson sees it and as people outside Jackson see it.

The main setting is the city of Seattle, Washington, and within that frame are several individual settings, including:

  • the city streets, which Jackson walks every day, begging a little money here and there.
  • the pawnshop where Jackson finds his grandmother's regalia.
  • the alley beneath the Alaska Way Viaduct where Jackson and his friends drink themselves to sleep.
  • the office of the homeless charity, Real Change, for whom Jackson sometimes sells...

(The entire section contains 799 words.)

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