HeatherDeMilleAnthr101Lesson5IntellectualJournal.pdf - Heather DeMille Anthr 101 Lesson 5 Intellectual Journal 1 Commentary on First Reading Assignment

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Heather DeMille, Anthr 101, Lesson 5 Intellectual Journal 1 Commentary on First Reading Assignment From the offset in Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, it is clear that the Hmong are extremely foreign to me. I have read about many cultures in the world, but this one is so odd I can hardly relate to it on any level. They think and reason so differently than I do. For example, they believe sickness is caused by events such as “pointing one’s finger at the full moon, touching a newborn mouse, killing a large snake,” or “urinating on a rock thatlooks like a tiger…” (p. 10)The culture shock for them here in the United States must be completely overwhelming. Considering how the Hmong believe that “if the soul cannot find its [placental] jacket, it is condemned to an eternity of wandering, naked and alone,” (p. 5) I can’t fathom how Foua must have felt when the hospital destroyed Lia’s placenta! Another aspect of the Hmong culture which I can’t fathom is how “hundreds of Hmong warriors killed their wives and children, believing they would fight more fiercely if they had nothing to lose.” (p. 16) From my perspective, war is only justified if it’s done to protect wives and children(think “Title of Liberty”, Book of Mormon). Thus, they should have been protecting their wives and children, not killing them! Otherwise, what was the point of fighting? However, since they lived polygyny and had several wives at a time, they might have figured it was no big deal to dispose of them since there was more where that came from. More likely, I imagine that the Hmong’s belief in reincarnation gave them an entirely different perspective on death, perhaps feeling towards death similar to the characters of the movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, wherein after dying the characters were not lost, but instead fell from the sky to begin their next life (in true video game style). These are conjectures, but in reality, I can’t even begin to comprehend just how
Heather DeMille, Anthr 101, Lesson 5 Intellectual Journal 2 differently I would perceive the world had I been raised Hmong instead of American! One aspect of their culture I canrelate to, however, is that they are “discreet respecters of personal liberty who demand only that their liberty be respected in return.” (p. 18) I have often been told that I am an extremely patient and loving person. It is true that it comes easily for me to allow others room to be themselves and to do as they see fit. However, my patience runs short if someone tries to boss me, for example, on how I should spend my time or eat differently. I expect people to grant me the same autonomy I offer them. Commentary on Second Reading Assignment One of the reasons for Christ’s atonement was so thatHe would know how to succor his people. Having experiencing what they experienced enabled Him to have a more complete understanding of their circumstances and be filled with sympathy for them. How fitting that the Hmong choose people with illness to be their healers,

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