The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down By Anne Fadiman Essays

1495 Words Oct 13th, 2016 6 Pages
Everyone comes from a cultural background carrying a different set of beliefs. Much of your identity is influenced by the environment in which you grew up in and by how you were brought up and raised. Since birth, you were taught by your parents and community a standard in which ways to behave, in which ways to interact with others respectively, in which is right from wrong, the list goes on. These are just a few that are ingrained in someone unknowingly. If one were to immerse himself fully into another country, chances are that he will stick to his own ideals greatly outweighs his willingness to abandon them. In the novel, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down written by Anne Fadiman, the author brings awareness to the readers of the many different challenges that immigrants face. In particular, when the youngest daughter of a Hmong family, Lia Lee, begins having frequent episodes of seizure and gets admitted to a nearby modern public hospital, MCMC, where her family’s beliefs clashes with the Western doctor’s beliefs. Neither side notices and acknowledges their upbringings and language barrier as being the core issue that affects their interpretation of each other.

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Around the time when Lia was about three months old, the spirit catches her and she falls down, otherwise known as quag dab peg or epilepsy. In the Hmong culture, this phrase literally translates to, quag, meaning to fall over with one’s roots still in ground, dab, which refers to a soul-stealing…

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