What are some important aspects of Hmong culture?
Some important aspects of Hmong culture are respectfulness, politeness, the pride that lacks arrogance, and lack of jealous of the outsiders (Chiu 7). These important aspects have made the Hmong community survive under pressure of more powerful nations for many years. Hmong have split into small groups leading them to spread in Northern Thailand and also in the United States, and the Hmong still admires their own culture (Fadiman 21).
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What do the Hmong consider their most important duties and obligations?
The most important duty of the Hmong is to live like a free man. The community treasured family life and maintained the Hmong culture (Chiu 10). Family life obligations are evident in the scenario of Laos’ seizures in the home and during transportation to the Merced community medical center (MCMC).
How did they affect the Hmong’s transition of the United States
The Hmong’s culture affected the transition process in the United States, for example, taking long during medication in modern hospitals (Bury 268). The Hmong did not like the modernized method of treating seizures as Hmong thought that seizures of epileptic patients are spiritual and are signs of divine fitness (Mattingly and Linda 50).
According to Lia’s condition, Hmong considered epilepsy and seizures as a blessing in which the physicians at the county hospitals could not understand. The United States medical doctors had to take more care of Hmong patients than other communities visiting the MCMC (Fadiman 24).
Moreover, the language barrier between the Hmong and the western doctors led to a wrong diagnosis of diseases such as epilepsy. In most situations, physicians at MCMC would diagnose epilepsy as bronchial pneumonia leading to administering of antibiotics instead of anticonvulsants. The Hmong had traditional methods of dealing with seizures in epileptic patients. The traditional methods were unprofessional according to the medical doctors in the United States, hence unacceptable (Mattingly and Linda 53).
What aspects of Hmong culture did you find appealing and admirable as you read the book?
The appealing and admirable aspects of Hmong culture are signs of gentleness to their children, and treasure of possessions and wealth of their colleagues. The Hmong are attentive parents. The infants are attached to their mothers, hence feeling less irritable (Bury 275). Readers can internalize the importance of not getting attached to the epileptic patients emotionally since they may later die (Fadiman 26).
What aspects did you find off-putting or disturbing, and why might you have felt that way?
The aspects of Hmong that are off-putting and disturbing are lack of cleanliness, staying a filthy life, lack of monetary value, and lack of basic needs. The community lives through mutual cohesion with the neighboring community that appreciates the Hmong culture. Lack of cleanliness and living a filthy life is off-putting because, in modern society, cleanliness enhances good living (Fadiman 27). The aspect of conducting the ceremony with the epileptic patient to reverse the errant soul is off-putting.
Scientifically, epilepsy has an association with convulsion, but not errant or spiritual soul (Mattingly and Linda 59). Hmong do not have confidence in the western doctors and their method of medication. The aspect of lack of confidence in physicians is disturbing since the Hmong needs more clinical care than other communities. This leads to overworking of staffs, hence personnel deficiency in the major hospitals (Chiu 15).
What did you learn from this book?
The interesting aspects of Hmong are maternal care, stability, gentle with the children, and the welcoming aspect of strangers. The surprising aspect of the Hmong community is the spiritual aspect of epilepsy in which they consider it as sympathy for the suffering of others (Bury 281).
The epileptic patients get considered as emotional healers that get chosen by the host of the healing spirit (Fadiman 28). The provoking aspect is the banging of the door that initiated the epileptic nature of Lia. Even after the medical doctors confirm that banging of the door has nothing to do with Lia’s epilepsy; the Hmong community still blames Yer (Fadiman 23).
Bury, Mike. “Illness narratives: fact or fiction?.” Sociology of health & illness 23.3 (2001): 263-285. Print.
Chiu, Monica. “Medical, racist, and colonial constructions of power: Creating the Asian American patient and the cultural citizen in Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.” Hmong Studies Journal 5.5 (2004): 1-36. Print.
Fadiman, Anne. The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors and the collision of two cultures. New York, NY: Macmillan, 1997. Print.
Mattingly, Cheryl, and Linda C. Garro, eds. Narrative and the cultural construction of illness and healing. California, CA: University of California Press, 2000. Print.