What You Pawn I Will Redeem


Sherman Alexie

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What You Pawn I Will Redeem: 2:00 P.M. Summary & Analysis

Jackson wakes up after briefly passing out from the alcohol. Rose of Sharon is gone, and Jackson only later learns that she hitchhiked back home to live with her sister on the reservation in Toppenish. Junior is passed out next to Jackson and covered in vomit. Jackson has a headache from drinking and decides to leave Junior to walk along the water, which he loves doing.
Rose of Sharon is the first American Indian character to disappear from the story. Her departure represents the breakdown of American Indian communities, as it shows how people whom Jackson loves and depends on can and do suddenly disappear from his life. This is yet another loss that Jackson must suffer.
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At the wharf, Jackson encounters three Aleut cousins who are looking out over the bay and crying. Jackson explains that most homeless American Indians that wind up in Seattle are originally from Alaska. They come on working boats, earn money fishing, then drink themselves broke at the “highly sacred and traditional Indian bars” in Seattle. Then, like the Aleut cousins, they’re stuck trying to find their way back to Alaska. The cousins’ boat has been gone for 11 years, and hearing this, Jackson sits down and cries with them for a while before asking them for money. But they don’t have any to give.
The Aleut cousins yearn to return home to Alaska, and their yearning represents the reality that many American Indians have lost their homes and lands due to colonialism and are unable to get them back. Jackson and the Aleut cousins cry together, which symbolizes the grief that is embedded into American Indian life because of their dispossession and oppression. It’s also significant that the Aleut cousins, and many other American Indians, seem to be trapped in the same cycle as Jackson: they spend their money on drinking to try to drown their grief, but in the end it leaves them stranded with no way to fix their lives or reconnect with their family or homeland or culture.
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