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The Sprit Catches You and You Fall Down

The Sprit Catches You and You Fall Down - The Sprit Catches...

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The Sprit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures Anne Fadiman Chapter 1- Birth This chapter deals with the birth of Lia, other cultural practices among the Hmong and difficulties in the American Medical System. With the Hmong, a baby was usually born standing up in the home. There were cultural views of having a child and if they did not, it looked bad- there were customs associated with childbirth. Food cravings were respected and shamans were visited to avoid ill health. At the hospital, cultural traditions were still followed by not drinking ice water, only black water (coffee). Dabs were a common cause of illness and a lot of other ways that soul loss is experienced is given in the chapter and the ritual to prevent soul loss (hu plig). Also, the language and cultural barrier are the two most important factors affecting Lia and the treatment of her. Chapter 2- Fish Soup This chapter refers mostly to the history of the Hmong and the cultural view that for example, fishing involves hundreds of things, not just catching a fish- many things are interrelated. Bloody scrimmages and wars against the Chinese mark most of their history and they will not change their cultural ideals and views for anyone. They do not think that anyone is superior to them. Polygyny is practices and other kinship and communal values are expressed. Their cultural influences. Chapter 3- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Lia is diagnosed with quag dab peg- the spirit catches you and you fall down, or epilepsy because her sister slammed the door and a soul fled her body. The illness career usually involves shamanism and epileptics are usually seen to have some higher order powers and are divine. Hmong people are concerned with the efficacy of Western medicine. Also, the first medical visits are described and it shows how the language barrier was a factor in misdiagnosing Lia for five months. Illness career, stigma, social construction, symbolic anthropology, folk illness, efficacy Chapter 4- Do Doctors Eat Brains? The biggest concern for the Hmong is doctors because the doctors here have no sense of cultural relativism and the views of doctors here are often seen differently and wrongly. It is seen a lot of the times that doctors treatments are hurting more than they are really helping. Chapter 5- Take as Directed This chapter dealt a lot with the problem that Lia’s parents were not following the prescriptions correctly. The main problem is the language barrier and their inability to read the prescriptions and communicate with the doctors. They did not know what “Take as Directed” meant”. Also, they would decide to use or not use certain prescriptions, not
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