Sherman Alexie's poem "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" tells the story of a Native American man named Jack, who is desperate to get back his grandmother's powwow regalia, or traditional dance clothes, which he sold for cash when he was struggling financially. The poem is set in a pawn shop, where Jack is bargaining with the shopkeeper to buy back the regalia.
The poem is rich with themes of identity, family, and cultural heritage. Jack's desperate desire to regain the regalia is tied to his sense of self and his connection to his ancestors. The regalia represents a part of his identity that has been lost, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to get it back.
The shopkeeper, on the other hand, is more interested in the monetary value of the regalia than its cultural significance. He sees it as nothing more than a commodity to be bought and sold. This contrast between Jack's emotional connection to the regalia and the shopkeeper's detachment highlights the theme of the commercialization of culture and the way in which it can undermine the value of traditions and heritage.
The title of the poem, "What You Pawn I Will Redeem," suggests that Jack is willing to pay any price to reclaim the regalia. This phrase also has deeper meaning, as it suggests that Jack is willing to redeem not only the regalia, but also his own sense of identity and connection to his culture.
Ultimately, the poem speaks to the importance of cultural traditions and the way in which they shape our sense of self and our connection to our ancestors. It also critiques the way in which these traditions can be commodified and stripped of their meaning in a capitalist society.
In conclusion, "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" is a poignant and thought-provoking poem that explores themes of identity, family, and cultural heritage, and the way in which they can be threatened by the forces of capitalism. It is a powerful reminder of the importance of preserving and valuing our cultural traditions.
The Aztec civilization, which flourished in ancient Mesoamerica from the 14th to the 16th centuries, left behind a wealth of documents that provide valuable insights into the culture and history of this advanced society. These documents, known as the Aztec DBQ (Document-Based Question) documents, include a wide range of materials such as official records, personal letters, and artistic works.
One of the most important Aztec DBQ documents is the Codex Mendoza, a manuscript created in the 16th century that contains detailed accounts of Aztec society, including its political and economic systems, social hierarchy, and religious practices. The Codex Mendoza also includes information on the Aztec empire's military campaigns and the tribute paid by conquered peoples.
Another important Aztec DBQ document is the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, a manuscript that contains a calendar, a description of the Aztec pantheon of gods, and a list of the major festivals and ceremonies celebrated by the Aztecs. The Codex Telleriano-Remensis also includes illustrations of various Aztec deities and rituals, providing a rich visual record of Aztec religious beliefs and practices.
In addition to these manuscripts, the Aztec DBQ documents also include a variety of other materials such as stone carvings, sculptures, and ceramics. These artifacts provide important insights into the art and architecture of the Aztec civilization, as well as its daily life and cultural practices.
One of the most famous Aztec DBQ documents is the Stone of Tizoc, a carved stone slab that depicts the Aztec ruler Tizoc engaged in a ritual human sacrifice. The Stone of Tizoc provides a unique glimpse into the role of human sacrifice in Aztec society, and the central role it played in the Aztec religion.
Overall, the Aztec DBQ documents provide a fascinating window into the culture, history, and daily life of the Aztec civilization. These documents allow us to better understand this ancient society and the complex societies that preceded it, and offer a wealth of information for scholars and students of Mesoamerican history.