Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding in Anne Fadiman's In the Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

1483 Words Feb 16th, 2018 6 Pages
This she effectively portrays using Lia, a Hmong, her medical history, the misunderstandings created by obstacles of communication, the religious background, the battle with modernized medical science and cultural anachronisms. Handling an epileptic child, in a strange land in a manner very unlike the shamanistic animism they were accustomed to, generated many problems for her parents. The author dwells on the radically different cultures to highlight the necessity for medical communities to have an understanding of the immigrants when treating them.
The Hmongs are an ethnic race, originally migrated from Eurasia and settled in river plains of China. The Chinese hated them, calling them ‘Miao’ or ‘Meo’ meaning barbarians and tried to gain mastery over them but the Hmongs wanting to be left alone began to migrate. By the beginning of the 19th century, half a million Hmongs had migrated to Indo-China. Disliking persecution, some settled in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. They detest being ordered or bullied, do not like to lose, are fighters who would rather die than surrender. Though they never possessed a country of their own, they have marched through the pages of history as free men desiring personal liberty. The Lee family travelled to Merced, California along with other Hmongs who fled to Laos in 1975, when their country became a prey to communism.
The Hmong’s…
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