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Fadiamn book, The spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Essay Example

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Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is a book essentially about two clashing cultures, the American medical culture and the Hmong culture. Foua and Nao Kao are from the Hmong community that has migrated to the United States with their child Lia Lee, as a…
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Fadiamn book, The spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
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Download file to see previous pages Their different approaches and beliefs to Lia Lee’s condition, the miscommunication between the parents and the doctors, partly because of the language barrier, and her parents’ refusal to administer the medication leads to worsening of the condition that leaves Lia Lee brain dead. Since the Hmong culture believed that illness was practically a matter of spirituality and sacrifices, they did not take their daughter to the hospital for diagnosis. It was only after several seizures that they decided to take her to the hospital. The American doctors diagnosed Lia with epilepsy and gave her medication to manage the condition. The parents reluctantly agree to administer the medication but over the next four years, the anticonvulsants do not take effect as the doctors keep changing her prescriptions. This causes Lia Lees parents to doubt the effectiveness of the medication and consequently refuse to administer the drugs to Lia. This decision makes the American doctors take action against Lia’s parents and place Lia in foster care where she could be given the drugs and hopefully get better. However a few months after returning home, Lai has a massive seizure that leaves her brain dead. With death imminent, the doctors allow her to be taken home by her parents, who were still hopeful that they would be able to unite Lia’s soul with her body and hence were organizing a pig sacrifice that was part of the Hmong’s rituals for uniting souls to their bodies.
There is an evident cultural dissonance in regards to the Hmong’s view of sicknesses as tied to their culture and the American medical culture. The Hmong tie sicknesses to spirituality and believe that sicknesses are a result of an individual’s soul leaving its body and keep wondering after being possessed by spirits. In order to unite the wondering spirit with its body, the spirit has to be appeased by offering pig ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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