What You Pawn I Will Redeem

by

Sherman Alexie

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What You Pawn I Will Redeem Quotes

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.
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Noon Quotes

One day you have a home and the next you don’t, but I’m not going to tell you my particular reasons for being homeless, because it’s my secret story, and Indians have to work hard to keep secrets from hungry white folks.

Related Characters: Jackson Jackson (speaker)
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

Probably none of this interests you. I probably don’t interest you much. Homeless Indians are everywhere in Seattle. We’re common and boring, and you walk right on by us, with maybe a look of anger or disgust or even sadness at the terrible fate of the noble savage.

Related Characters: Jackson Jackson (speaker)
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:

If you put Junior and me next to each other, he’s the Before Columbus Arrived Indian, and I’m the After Columbus Arrived Indian. I am living proof of the horrible damage that colonialism has done to us Skins. But I’m not going to let you know how scared I sometimes get of history and its ways. I’m a strong man, and I know that silence is the best way of dealing with white folks.

Related Characters: Jackson Jackson (speaker), Junior
Related Symbols: The Powwow Regalia
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

I set the crumpled Lincoln on the countertop. The pawnbroker studied it.

“Is that the same five dollars from yesterday?”

“No, it’s different.”

He thought about the possibilities.

“Did you work hard for this money?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said.

Related Characters: Jackson Jackson (speaker), The Pawnbroker (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Five-Dollar Bills
Page Number: 193-194
Explanation and Analysis:

I knew that the solitary yellow bead was a part of me. I knew that I was the yellow bead in part. Outside, I wrapped myself in my grandmother’s regalia and breathed her in. I stepped off the sidewalk and into the intersection. Pedestrians stopped. Cars stopped. The city stopped. They all watched me dance with my grandmother. I was my grandmother, dancing.

Related Characters: Jackson Jackson (speaker), Agnes
Related Symbols: The Powwow Regalia
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
3:00 P.M. Quotes

I wondered if my grandmother’s cancer had started when somebody stole her powwow regalia. Maybe the cancer started in her broken heart and then leaked out into her breasts. I know it’s crazy, but I wondered if I could bring my grandmother back to life if I bought back her regalia.

Related Characters: Jackson Jackson (speaker), Agnes
Related Symbols: The Powwow Regalia
Page Number: 175-176
Explanation and Analysis:
6:00 P.M. Quotes

“It’s funny, isn’t it?” he asked.

“What’s funny?”

“How we brown people are killing other brown people so white people will remain free.”

“I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

“Well, sometimes I think of it that way. And other times, I think of it the way they want me to think of it. I get confused.”

Related Characters: Agnes (speaker)
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
7:00 P.M. Quotes

“Thank you,” I said and gave her one of the bills.

“I can’t take that,” she said. “It’s your money.”

“No, it’s tribal. It’s an Indian thing. When you win, you’re supposed to share with your family.”

“I’m not your family.”

“Yes, you are.”

She smiled. She kept the money.

Related Characters: Jackson Jackson (speaker), Kay (speaker)
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
8:00 A.M. Quotes

The Aleuts sang their strange and beautiful songs. I listened. They sang about my grandmother and their grandmothers. They were lonely for the cold and snow. I was lonely for everybody.

Related Characters: Jackson Jackson (speaker), The Aleut Cousins, Agnes
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:
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