What You Pawn I Will Redeem

by

Sherman Alexie

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Officer Williams Character Analysis

Officer Williams is a Seattle police officer who has gotten to know Jackson well over the years that he’s been homeless. While the way Williams talks to Jackson and helps him out suggest that he has respect and sympathy for Jackson, his actions often conflict with his words. Williams believes that Jackson is smart and can’t understand why he ended up on the streets, but at the same time, he doesn’t believe that Jackson could get himself off the streets even if he did have money, because he’d spend it all on alcohol. Jackson believes that Williams is a “good cop” because he reminds him of his grandfather, who was a tribal police officer back home on his reservation. Jackson believes that, like his grandfather, Williams is dedicated to helping people rather than just punishing them, despite that fact that Williams doesn’t help Jackson in any lasting way.

Officer Williams Quotes in What You Pawn I Will Redeem

The What You Pawn I Will Redeem quotes below are all either spoken by Officer Williams or refer to Officer Williams. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Native American Culture and Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of What You Pawn I Will Redeem published in 2004.
6:00 A.M. Quotes

“And somebody beat the hell out of you,” he said. “You remember who?”

“Mr. Grief and I went a few rounds.”

“It looks like Mr. Grief knocked you out.”

“Mr. Grief always wins.”

Related Characters: Officer Williams (speaker), Jackson Jackson (speaker)
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

“You Indians. How the hell do you laugh so much? I just picked your ass off the railroad tracks, and you’re making jokes. Why the hell do you do that?”

“The two funniest tribes I’ve ever been around are Indians and Jews, so I guess that says something about the inherent humor of genocide.”

Related Characters: Officer Williams (speaker), Jackson Jackson (speaker)
Page Number: 186-187
Explanation and Analysis:
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Officer Williams Character Timeline in What You Pawn I Will Redeem

The timeline below shows where the character Officer Williams appears in What You Pawn I Will Redeem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
6:00 A.M.
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
...Jackson is woken up with a kick to the ribs by a police officer named Officer Williams . Jackson knows Williams and thinks he is a “good cop” with a sweet tooth.... (full context)
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Death and Grief  Theme Icon
Officer Williams remarks that Jackson has never acted so stupidly, and Jackson explains that his grief over... (full context)
Money, Capitalism, and Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Death and Grief  Theme Icon
Officer Williams puts Jackson in the back of his police cruiser to take him to the detox... (full context)
Native American Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Officer Williams asks Jackson why someone smart like him is on the streets. Jackson replies that he’ll... (full context)
Death and Grief  Theme Icon
Jackson and Officer Williams drive past the city’s missions, where homeless men and women stare up at the grey... (full context)
Native American Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Death and Grief  Theme Icon
...an attempt to understand why he killed Jackson’s grandfather, but he never figured it out. Officer Williams asks Jackson if he can remember his grandfather, but Jackson doesn’t remember much besides the... (full context)
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
...him a day, and he’ll miss the deadline to buy back his grandmother’s powwow regalia. Officer Williams says that the right way to go about getting the stolen regalia back is to... (full context)
Money, Capitalism, and Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Jackson tells Officer Williams that he believes in magic, but Williams knows that he’ll more likely use the money... (full context)