The Split Horn Film Analysis

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Depression among the Hmong Depression is considered to be one of the more prevalent mental illnesses in Western society. Although it can be interpreted as deep sadness, it can also lead to health deficits later on in a person’s life, depending on how long it lasts. The film ‘The Split Horn’, filmed by Taggart Siegel and Jim McSilver, (PBS, 2015) touches on the impact that depression has on a specific group of people called the Hmong. However, the Hmong view of depression contrasts from those who practice Western culture, and some views of one culture contradicts the other. There are a few consequences that can come out of this, and as a result, one can begin to understand the difference between cultures, since depression is conceptualized…show more content…
For example, the father, Paja, was believed to have been very sad for a long period of time, though the Hmong do not categorize it as depression per se (McSilver & Seigel, 2004). Instead, they simply call it sadness and discuss the causes of it, such as losing one’s soul spiritually, though the person in question is still alive. Paja’s sadness slowly accumulated until there was too much for him to handle, and so he started losing the ability to function and continue his daily routines. The Hmong worry for the depressed in their culture, and so they perform healing rituals with the intention of helping the person’s soul, thereby allowing them to feel well and whole again. The ritual includes throwing split buffalo horns onto the ground to determine whether or not the soul has returned to the sad individual’s body, and once it does, individuals tie strings to the person’s wrists in order to keep the soul in it. This specific healing ritual assists in getting rid of depression, and it worked for Paja, which demonstrates its’…show more content…
For the Hmong, it is seen as deep sadness and can be healed with communal rituals and traditions, whereas in Western societies, it can involve doctors and therapy. It concerns the biomedical model because medication can be used to aid individuals in recovering from this illness, and it negatively affects one’s body as well. It is seen as a mental illness in many different places around the world, yet the Hmong never referred to it as such, and preferred to think of it without stigma instead, though they lived within Western culture. Nevertheless, the culture shock they experienced changed a lot for them, such as having their children veer off from the lives their parents had previously led before them. Becoming literate was another aspect of American life that they had to face, and they dealt with the challenge to the best of their ability. Although none may have wanted to flee from their home country, they did so under necessity, and were able to find a home in a completely foreign country to them. The differences in culture between the Hmong and Western cultures were distinct, but the Hmong were still able to practice their own traditions and aid each other in their time of need, such as when Paja needed the communal help. They overcame struggles together, and in the end, were able to keep their culture, though the Hmong children are also embracing the
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