Analysis Of What You Pawn I Will Redeem By Sherman Alexie

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In “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” Sherman Alexie gives the reader insight into the struggles of identity endured by contemporary Native Americans. Alexie was born in 1966 and spent his childhood years on the Spokane Indian Reservation in northeast Washington. Before the forced resettlement and assimilation of the Native Americans, the Spokane Tribe was a proud nation that roamed the Pacific Northwest fishing, hunting, and camping. In 1881, President Hayes relocated the tribe to a small reservation that was soon overrun by poverty and corruption ( Jackson Jackson, the narrator and protagonist, is a homeless Spokane Native American that happens upon his grandmother’s regalia in a pawn shop. Through his quest to possess the regalia, Jackson is trying to capture a glimpse of the nobility and pride of his heritage. Alexie’s short story gives us a glimpse into how Native Americans face internal and external conflicts related to self-identity due to the historical assimilation, prejudice, and extermination of the Native American culture. Jackson begins his tale by establishing that his ancestors claimed the Spokane area long before the days of the white settlers. He states, “my people have lived within a hundred-mile radius of Spokane, Washington, for at least ten thousand years.” (Alexie). Even so, …show more content…
Jackson’s abuses alcohol, engages in risky behavior, and obsesses about his ancestry all in an attempt to fill the emotional void in his life. This story is a lesson that certain behaviors are not from a lack of moral standing, but a response to the internal conflicts people are dealing with due to no fault of their own. Native Americans and other traumatized cultures face ongoing struggles to discover their self-worth and position in a world that appears to care little about their

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