In "What You Pawn I Will Redeem," what is the purpose or symbolism behind the three Aleut Indians?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The three Aleut Indians in “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” by Sherman Alexie are representative of Indians who are unable to travel back to their homelands. The story relates that they are in Seattle because they were left there by the ship they came on.

Most of the homeless Indians in Seattle come from Alaska. One by one, each of them hopped a big working boat in Anchorage or Barrow or Juneau, fished his way south to Seattle, jumped off the boat with a pocketful of cash to party hard at one of the highly sacred and traditional Indian bars, went broke and broker, and has been trying to find his way back to the boat and the frozen North ever since.

The Aleuts are the majority of homeless Indians in Seattle, something that we aren’t shown in the story. The Aleuts that Jackson Jackson does come into contact with are planted; they stay sitting on a bench by the wharf. These Indians are contrasted with Rose of Sharon and Junior, both of who leave and travel. Rose of Sharon can go to her...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 955 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team