The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Summary & Study GuideLia, who is epileptic, struggles in the American medical system, a drama that inspires Fadiman to consider the nature of American medicine while also providing a comprehensive ethnographic study of Hmong culture. Though the text primarily focuses on the Lees , Fadiman speaks with many community members and Hmong experts in order to round out her portrayal of a rich and complex culture. Although she is born healthy, Lia has a seizure when she is three months old after her older sister Yer loudly slams a door. Her father and mother believe this noise frightened Lia, causing her soul to retreat from her body. After her first episode, Lia has twenty more seizures in just a few months. Eventually, on her third visit, Lia arrives while still seizing.
Anne Fadiman speaking at Whitman College - The Spirit Catches You...
Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
A good portion of the book is spent recounting Hmong history. We watch as these folks are driven from China for refusing to assimilate its culture, then eventually make their way to the mountains of Laos. We watch as the Vietnam War destabilizes the region, forcing the Hmong to fight for the U. We watch as their communities are decimated by communist forces, forcing the Hmong to risk life and limb to make it to America. Their daughter Lia is born and tragedy strikes: she has frequent seizures and is diagnosed with epilepsy. Lia's treatment is complicated by Nao Kao's and Foua's inability to speak English, making it all but impossible to communicate with her doctors. Ultimately, everything comes to a head when Lia's doctor, Neil Ernst, gets fed up with this lack of communication and sends Lia into a foster home.
Free summary and analysis of Chapter 1 in Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down that won't make you snore. We promise.
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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Summary & Study Guide Description
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down tells the story of Lia Lee , a Hmong child with epilepsy, whose tragic demise reveals the dangers of a lack of cross-cultural communication in the medical profession. When Lia was around three months old, her older sister Yer slammed a door and Lia had her first seizure. Her parents, Foua and Nao Kao, believed that the noise of the door had caused her soul to flee. They diagnosed her illness as qaug dab peg, "the spirit catches you and you fall down. They brought her for treatment to the Merced Community Medical Center MCMC , but they also utilized traditional healing methods and engaged a tvix neeb to call back her soul.