What You Pawn, I Will Redeem”
1. How does the narrator know the regalia is his grandmother’s?
2. Why is the story divided by time?
3. Why does Alexie continually present the issue of alcoholism among American Indians regardless of tribe?
Final Submitted answers
What You Pawn, I Will Redeem -Full Answers
1. Jackson, the narrator, notices the regalia in the window of a pawnshop and recognizes some similarities between this regalia and the one he remembers of his grandmother’s. His grandmother’s was stolen 50 years ago and his family hasn’t seen it since. While in the shop, Jackson recalls a feature that is left on powwow regalia made by his family. A yellow bead is always sewn in a random hidden place on the garment as a form of trademark. The reason for this, he explains, is that Native Americans don’t want to be perfect. They believed that only God was perfect. So they would sew little things into their powwow regalia to make them Imperfect. After searching the regalia with the pawnbroker, Jackson finds a single yellow bead sewn in the armpit. It was then that he was certain that this had once belonged to his grandmother all of those years ago. 2. Jackson had only 24 hours to earn the money required to buy back his grandmother’s regalia from the pawnbroker. The author didn’t start counting time until Jackson left the pawnshop with the $20 that the pawnbroker gave him. From receiving newspapers to sell at 4p.m., to buying everyone in the Indian bar a drink at 9 p.m. we see how Jackson spends the 24 hours he has to get the regalia back. By isolating time in the story, the author is able to better portray the amount of time is passing. It shows how quickly the time passes and how Jackson uses the time that the pawnbroker gave him to collect the $999. This helps the reader so that they stay grounded and aware of the passage of time throughout the story. 3. Alexie continually portrays the issue of alcoholism in American Indians because, as...
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