What You Pawn I Will Redeem


Sherman Alexie

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What You Pawn I Will Redeem: 5:00 P.M. Summary & Analysis

Jackson stands outside a terminal and tries to sell the papers to commuters, but he’s discouraged after selling only five in one hour. He throws out the remaining 45 papers. With the money earned from the five papers, Jackson walks to McDonalds and orders four one-dollar cheeseburgers, which he eats slowly. He walks outside after finishing his meal and promptly throws up. He explains that he’s an “alcoholic Indian with a busted stomach” who can only hope that he can keep enough food down to stay alive.
After making only five dollars in one hour, Jackson gives up on selling papers, further demonstrating the futility of Big Change and other non-profits, despite their best intentions. Again, as soon as Jackson earns some money, he immediately spends it, and this time he spends it on a basic necessity. The fact that he immediately throws up the food further reinforces the vicious cycle of earning and losing that keeps Jackson poor.
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