The Spirit Catches And You Fall Down Structural Analysis

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There are four major theories behind the theoretical framework within this module. Those four theories are Structural functionalism, Conflict theory, Social construction, and Symbolic interactionism. These four theories plays a crucial role in the medical system and are seen within Anne Fadiman’s novel The Spirit Catches and You Fall Down.
To begin with, the first major theory is Structural functionalism. This theory was explained by biologist Herbert Spencer, who compared structural functionalism to the human body as a network of various systems that are intertwined in order to maintain and regulate the wellbeing of society. This theory could be applied to the Hmong culture on a midlevel of analysis because believe in a system that ensures their wellbeing. This system is evident in Fadiman’s novel when doctor describe the frustration of waiting for their Hmong patient to receive authorization for certain decisions from the proper channel of authority; such as the elder man in the family
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Symbolic interactionism is placing a meaning on an object and behave based of that meaning which might not be necessarily true. This theory is present within the novel because the Hmong ascribe a stigma to doctors and by doing so this causes them to interact with them differently. Another example of symbolic theory within the novel is the placenta that the Hmong symbolize. The placenta is symbolize as the passage for the soul and they were upset with the Western medicine for not being able to keep the placenta after child birth, however Dr. Fife did allow this which caused more interactions with Hmong for Dr. Fife. Also, even though doctors warn against the handling of the placenta because it may transfer disease, they ignore it because of the symbolic importance it have to them. So, the symbolic meaning of the placenta overrides the actual fact of health

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