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The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down By Anne Fadiman

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Anne Fadiman’s novel The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, documents the life of the Lees, Hmong refugees who live in California. Their daughter Lia has a seizure which they diagnosed as qaug dab peg, “the spirit catches you and you fall down”. These seizure cause her to become vegetated for the rest of her life. Her parents believed that her seizures happened because her soul had fled her body. Because of the cultural traditions, aside from her treatment at Merced Community Medical Center, they utilized traditional healing methods. This was because her parents and the Hmong culture believed that they needed to call her soul back. Through the Lee’s story, Fadiman highlights the dangers of a lack of cross-cultural communication in the medical…show more content…
Here we can clearly see how Fadiman wants to show how people should treat others from a different religion. She says that she needs to “more like a Hmong” to understand their culture, religion and traditions. Doing so will help her understand why it is that they do what they do and why they have little trust on American doctors and medicine. If the doctors at the Merced hospital had tried to put themselves in Lia’s parent’s shoes to try and understand their culture they would of been able to come up with solutions that would of helped Lia more in the long run. Simply ignoring the fact that they are dealing with a completely different and trying to do what they can under the circumstances they should of been able to work with the parents. Maybe having a Hmong religious leader talk to them so that they understand what her parents think about the soul and it escaping from the body, would have changed their way of seeing the situation. Fadiman as the writer wanted to think like a Hmong person and thought that if the doctors had taken that same view, Lia might of had a different (more successful)
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