Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day One Hundred Forty: "What you Pawn I Will Redeem" by Sherman Alexie


A homeless Native American spots his grandmother's regalia in the window of a pawn shop, regalia that had been stolen from his family 50 years earlier. He asks the pawn dealer about it and discovers upon close inspection that it is in fact his grandmother's but the pawn dealer had paid a lot of money for it and he doesn't want to give it away. The pawn dealer and the Indian cut a deal. Then, the story takes off.

How can an Indian turn $5 into $1,000 in 24 hours? It's humorous and sad and heartbreaking and uplifting to watch this man struggle with his inner demons, his addictions, his status as a homeless man on his quest to scrounge up the money he needs. There is such humanity in this piece and the voice is so strong. I feel like I met this man and that I'd want to take him home. Ironically, he would never let me. The streets are his. As the character in the story says "Being homeless is probably the only thing I’ve ever been good at." He takes pride in this life and how he has navigated his way through it. There's something to be said for that kind of pride and certainty.

You can read this story in its entirety here:

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