Does Sherman Alexie Use Ethos In What You Pawn I Will Redeem

912 Words4 Pages

Sherman Alexie’s What You Pawn I Will Redeem, examines a number of topics affecting the American Indian community through the narrator of the story, Jackson Jackson. Jackson Jackson uses a particular rhetoric to appeal to logos, ethos, and pathos. The story follows a clear plot line and resolution, such as tales of knights in shining armor, contributing to it’s logical consistency. Meanwhile, the story’s narrative is nearly script-like in fashion, allowing the audience to observe scenes as bystanders rather than search for credibility of the character. This, and the bluntness of Jackson Jackson, build the ethical appeal of Alexie’s observations. The appeal to pathos, however, is especially strong. It presents the concept of shared struggles …show more content…

For example, he does not simply say that he is lonesome. When he mentions loneliness on page 11, he ties it to his identity as a member of the ‘Indian’ community by beginning with, “Lonesome for Indians, …” This insinuates that loneliness is an emotion shared by all Indians. In a sense, it builds an empathetic connection between himself and other members of the community, since they share in the loneliness, and an emotional connection between the audience and the community since loneliness is something everyone faces at some point. Later, on the same page, he contributes more to this idea of community with, “ … but Indians like to belong, so we all pretend to be cousins.” This idea of shared struggle is seen especially in his relationship with the Aleuts. He shares this idea of sadness through including anecdotes of their encounter through the day. In once instance, he includes, “I cried with them for a while.” (p. 5) In this case, they empathize with one another over the collective loss experienced through landlessness. Later on, he emphasizes this sense of community by describing their relationship to one another. “We Indians have to keep our secrets. And these Aleuts were so secretive they didn’t refer to themselves as Indians.” (p. …show more content…

Throughout the story, for instance, Jackson uses metaphors that sort-of defend his use of alcohol in such a way that they explain his reasons for drinking. “Fortified courage” and “liquid imagination” are two of the metaphors he uses. While it might be more difficult for the audience to identify with a homeless alcoholic, it is easier to empathize with someone in search of courage or imagination. Nonetheless, it is clear through Jackson’s list of his own faults during the first page that he is not a flawless character. However, given his conquest for something noble (the regalia) and clear setbacks within the journey (of which alcoholism is one), the argument is created for the audience to pity Jackson. This draws into the logical structure of the story while developing the pathetic appeal of the

Open Document