Themes Of The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down By Anne Fadiman

540 Words3 Pages

One of the recurring themes of Anne Fadiman’s novel The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is the cultural unawareness that is present, not only the American perspective, but the Hmong perspective as well. This is evident in the recountment of a Hmong American that returns to visit Ban Vinai, a refugee camp in Thailand, after establishing herself in the United States. Most of the book is written with a focus on the Western doctors lacking understanding of Hmong language, customs and culture which in turn made it difficult for them to treat patients such as Lia. They struggled to explain procedures, while practical to them, appeared harmful and life-threating to the Hmong. On the other hand, Hmong are equally, if not more perplexed over science …show more content…

This blatant disregard to the Hmong’s perception of lab work shows that their distrust in doctors is well placed. Had the situation been explained, as with the baby’s family (51) they may have been more willing to accept treatment. The Hmong people have little to no knowledge to how western base medicine works, thus can only speculate on how it works from what they observe. The language barrier adds another level of confusion, for even if time was taken to explain procedures, there is still the lack of producing an adequate, understandable and accurate translation. In this passage, the lack of information causes the Hmong people to conjure up explanations for what the American doctors practice, obvious from the title, “Do Doctors Eat Brains?”. The fear of the unknown aides in fueling the imagination with picturing the most lucrative reasons for how the Americans practice medicine. To those educated in the ways of the western world, the scenarios described by the Hmong are outrageous, the eating of internal organs and the selling of dead

Open Document