In “Eighty Years and More, 1815-1897”, Elizabeth Cady Stanton tells the story of a young girl growing up in Scotland in the Nineteenth Century. In “What You Pawn I Will Redeem”, Sherman Alexie gives live to a Native American who lives in the streets of Seattle, in the Twenty-First Century. Although each story is written and presented in two different eras, and speaks of two different cases of struggles lived by minorities, both authors find written words to give voice to the ever-present unfairness of inequality.
In Eighty Years and More, we find the author writing the passages of her life in a chronological manner. She engages the reader with the story of her dying brother and her father’s sadness over the thought of keeping only girls as his children after the death of his son. From that moment on she tells the story of how, throughout her life, she pursues the dream of being treated as an equal to men. It is clear that in her writing she intends to be perceived as a highly educated woman, who gives light to situations of the time with great creativity.
In Alexie’s short story, the main character also gives a chronological anecdote of what happens to someone like him – a Native American homeless man – when in pursuit of a goal that would otherwise be easily achieved by others. This short story contemplates a twenty-four hour period, but in it, the author uses the misfortunes of the Native American’s background to get special consideration for his character. In his narrative, Alexie seeks to highlight the intelligence and capability of Jackson to give him a better perception in the mind of the reader.
Both authors use their stories to draw attention to the misfortunes of those who have to live restrained by outside forces that are, beyond any improvement that they seek, stronger than them. They both use a tone that is educated and cultured, to appeal to those in the higher spectrum of society and with-it, obtain consideration from the reader. Their tales include anecdotes and memories that are part of human life but that surely, make their stories more powerful.
Alexie, Sherman. “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 19 June 2017,www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/04/21/what-you-pawn-i-will-redeem
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. Eighty Years and More, 1815-1897: Reminiscences of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. European Pub. Co., 1898. users.nerdland.net/zonga/08stanton.pdf.