Analysis of Anne Fadiman's 'The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down'

731 Words3 Pages
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Anne Fadiman Introduction Question One: How important was the birth of new children to the Hmong population, and what was the cultural response for a Hmong couple who were not able to conceive and bear a child? Answer One: It should be explained that the Hmong culture believed in and relied on mythical and mystical solutions in many cases. Observing spiritual rituals and believing in fables was very important for Hmong, and when a Hmong couple could not produce any children, a shaman was called in. Also called a "txiv need," the shaman was said to be able to "…summon a posse of helpful familiars, ride a winged horse over the twelve mountains between the earth and the sky," the author Fadiman writes on page 4. The shaman, after entering into a trance, and crossing an ocean where dragons preyed, also began some kind of negotiations with dragons. The shaman would also try having the couple sacrifice a dog, or cat, or chicken, or a sheep as part of the effort to help the couple conceive a child. Once the throat of one of these animals was cut by the shaman, he would string a rope bridge from the "doorpost to the marriage bed, over which the soul of the couple's future baby…could freely travel to earth." Question Two: What is meant by "the spirit catches you and you fall down"? Answer Two: The spirit catches you and you fall down is actually another way of saying that a person is having epileptic seizures. In this book Lia is

More about Analysis of Anne Fadiman's 'The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down'

Open Document