The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down A Hmong Child

1586 Words7 Pages
Distinct World Clashes In the novel, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, Anne Fadiman exposes the clash between the Hmong culture and Western medicine, in addition to the lack of communication and language. Fadiman uses Lia Lee, a Hmong epileptic girl, as a symbol of cultural dissonance and reveals the effects of how a language barrier can have in the health care system. It is believed that all Hmong people have many souls within them and if they become ill, one of those will escaped from their body and become lost or taken by an evil spirit. Shaman, only the most respected people within Hmong community are believed to have the ability to leave the physical…show more content…
On the other hand, western medicine doctors diagnose the problem by observing the physical symptoms, screening the blood, and perform various other medical techniques that rely on advanced medical education and training. Doctors are concerned with the physical symptoms and disregard the “soul” which in turn conflicts with the Hmong culture because they believe in souls and higher mental processes. Fadiman’s proved that the central argument was the collision between the Hmong culture and the physical disease treatment of western medicine. Hmong cultural traditions and modern western medicine conflict with one another because Hmong culture relies on spiritual views while western medicine relies on physical treatment. The two differences between one another cause disagreement, and throughout the book the theme of power revolves around it. Power is a central theme and it is shown because Lia’s family is in constant battle with the doctors trying to prove who is superior to one another. Lia’s parents believe that the doctors are only hurting her by giving her too many medications and feel as though that they should be in charge of her health. Lia’s parents, specifically her father refuses to give her the medications the doctors prescribe to her because they believe that she could be healed through rituals. In the Hmong culture,
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