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Conflicts in the Story “what You Pawn, I Will Redeem”

By:   •  November 12, 2015  •  Essay  •  1,586 Words (7 Pages)  •  5,256 Views

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9 February 2015

Thesis Statement

While the public may feel the government is infringing on people’s right to privacy, I feel that domestic surveillance is a powerful tool that should be used in the defense of the men, women and children of our country.

Introduction

The conflicts that I see in the story “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” are individual

versus self and individual versus individual. Individual vs. self because the pawnshop owner is struggling with the fact that he wants to do the right thing but since he paid so much money for the regalia, doesn’t feel he can afford to just let Jackson have it. Individual versus individual is Jackson and the pawnshop owner. Jackson has proven to the pawnshop owner, by the single yellow bead, that the regalia truly is his but the pawnshop owner doesn’t want to give it back for free.

The conflicts I see in the poem “Let America Be America Again” is individual versus

society and individual versus individual. The first part of the poem is individual versus society in how it speaks about how the America that it should be which is free, equal and where you can come to achieve your dreams without prejudice. The other part of the poem is individual versus individual and individual versus society. You have the individual speaking in the background at first saying America was never as the first part described it to them which is showing individual versus individual because of his strong feelings about how America should be and how it actually is. This is where individual versus society comes in, there are references to slavery, the Indians, immigrants and so on that have suffered over the years because of societies beliefs.

The similarities between the short story and the poem is the conflict of individual versus individual. The pawnshop owner from “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” and his feelings of guilt; to the person in the poem dealing with their feelings how America and it’s society has done nothing but the opposite then what people expect. The difference between the two is the ending of each story/poem; the final resolution. The pawnshop owner gives Jackson 24-hours to get the money together to buy his grandma’s regalia back. The person in the background is never really given an opportunity to achieve his goal of what America should be; but hopes to someday.

The three literary techniques and elements that best represent the conflicts of individual

versus individual and individual versus self in “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” and “Let America Be America Again” are conflict, flashback and omniscient point of view.

What You Pawn, I Will Redeem

The first technique that I see is an omniscient point of view. When Jackson is telling this

story he is accessing the thoughts and feelings of the characters in the story. He speaks of this homeless Plains Indian he’s friends with and has asked him why he won’t tell him exactly what kind of Plains Indian he is, his response is “Do any of us know exactly what we are?” (Alexei, 2003). He is demonstrating the thought and feelings of this character because you can tell the emotion that the Plains Indian is feeling when he comes back with that question to Jackson. Another example is when he speaks of going to the wharf and running into three of his Aleut cousins, they would sit on a bench and cry waiting for their boat to come back. Jackson asked them “How long has your boat been gone?” (Alexie, 2003). The oldest of the cousins replied that it had been over eleven years; so Jackson cried with them. This shows the conflict of the Aleut’s individual versus individual because they cannot come to terms with the fact that their boat is not coming back.

The second technique that I see in the story is conflict between the pawnshop owner and

Jackson. Jackson, Rose of Sharon and Junior walk past a pawnshop, that he doesn’t recall ever seeing before, and sees his grandmother’s regalia. When he walks into the pawnshop he tells the pawnshop owner “That’s my grandmother’s powwow regalia in your window. Somebody stole it from her fifty years ago, and my family has been searching for it ever since.” (Alexie, 2003). The pawnshop owner instantly regards Jackson as if what he is saying is not the truth by saying all right if you are not lying then prove that this is your grandmother’s regalia. Jackson thinks for a minute and tells the owner that if it is his grandmother’s there will be a single yellow bead that does not fit somewhere on the regalia. His friends ask if he is going to give it back to him, this is where individual versus self comes into play. “That would be the right thing to do, but I can’t afford to do the right thing. I paid a thousand dollars for this. I can’t just give away a thousand dollars.” (Alexei, 2013). Of course Jackson doesn’t have that kind of money and feels since it is rightfully his he shouldn’t have to pay to get it back; hence individual versus individual.

The third technique I come across is flashback, Jackson has a flashback of his grandmother.

One of them was him just remembering her; her name was Agnes and she had died of breast cancer when he was a young teenage boy. His mother had told him she got tumors from when she broke her ribs and they never healed right. The other flashback is a story that his grandmother told him about World War II and how she was a nurse and took care of this soldier that had lost his legs. Agnes had said “There’s a lot of Indian soldiers fighting for the

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