Hmong Culture Vs American Culture

1354 Words 6 Pages
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the relationship between the Hmong culture and the American culture; in particular the differences in medicine. Medicine has been a difficult subject to understand and master; moreover it becomes almost impossible if the person was raised in an entirely different culture than that of western medicine. This book discusses what it was like from both sides; the Hmong and those of the western doctors what it is like to deal with each other when it involves a common interest. That common interest being Lia Lee, an epileptic Hmong child. Both of the parties cared for Lia Lee; however their cultural differences were enough to distract from the real goal. The Lee's were first conflicted towards Lia's …show more content…
The Hmong culture is often viewed as savage or primitive; from outsiders who do not understand or who do not want understand their way of life. As I was reading the book, I realized that Hmong culture is different but has some similarities to other cultures. Like my own culture, Mexican, there are some thing that are regarded as different. One aspect of the Hmong culture that struck me as interesting was rituals of birth or how the Hmong gave birth when they were not in American hospitals. The thought and all the details were fascinating like the meals that were suppose to be eaten; as well as the “placenta jacket.” I think that this ordeal is often viewed as backward, for the American culture does not have specific rules that need to be followed towards giving birth, other than those of the doctor. Another aspect would be the respect or worth that the Hmong put on the human soul. The souls to the Hmong seem to be important and are taken care of well. I believe that the heavy reliance on the soul is seen as different, for the American culture as well as the medicine do not take in consideration the soul as much as the Hmong do. I think that this could be a lesson that could be taught to the American culture, we should treat are bodies with special care and take care of our inner …show more content…
For instance the Lee's are so consumed in their culture, although they want Lia to be healthy; they do not want the disease to be cured, for they consider her special. What is needed quotes Kleinman, “compromise on both sides”(261). I believe that both cultures need to understand that each culture has its own qualities and the person should be able to find an equilibrium. Even when Lia had the shock she was already considered dead to her doctors, but her parents culture kept them from believing that she was dead. This shows how the gap between the cultures is unbridgeable, however I do beehive that more could have been done in order to help Lia. There needed to be a middle ground in which both the parents and the doctors could agree on.
4. This book, from the very beginning provoked thoughts some ethnocentric towards the Hmong culture. I was clouded by my own culture in which I was raised , when I read this book for the culture is different, but each one has its own unique traits. The cultural diversity in the book was something I was particularly interested in. The questions that were provoked by this book were: Why are the Hmong so intrigued by the culture and why haven't they tried to change their way of being? This info is thought provoking as it does provide a clear picture into their world. An aspect that was interesting is that both of the parties had great love for Lia Lee although they had each others differences; there were few people in each party that were

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