The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down Summary

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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”, a novel, written by Anne Fadiman, takes an inside look at the Hmong culture, their history, and trails Lia’s, a Hmong child of the Lees, medical experience with her American doctors and how a clash of two cultures impacted her outcome. Lia has epilepsy or as the Hmong say, “the spirit catches you and you fall down” (Fadiman, 2012, p. 30). The book focuses on Lia’s care, which results in brain death, the medical staffs’ actions/behaviors, what improvements could be made, and the Lees behaviors. Health literacy, an obligation between health care providers and a patient to share information in a way that the other person can understand (Osborne, 2013, p. 2). After chapter 11, “The Big One,” addressing Lia’s worst seizure yet, there are eight more chapters which hold rich context that further helps the reader understand the culture barrier. The Hmong faced constant threat during their immigration to the United states and…show more content…
A provider can learn how the patient believes the illness should be cured and what the illness is; thus, learning more about a culture will help the provider avoid “single story” assumptions. “Single-stories” means labeling a person and not looking at the person as a hole. Chimamanda describes the dangers of a “single story,” and how it can limit our ability to be open to another culture or idea (Adichie, 2009). If “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” is used as a single story, then we as readers risk how we will see the Hmong culture; the reader could look at how the Lees wanted to cure Lia in their own ways or could look at the richness of the Hmong culture and how resilient they are, even throughout their hardships. We can avoid using a “single story” for the Hmong culture by acknowledging their history and how they view the soul and

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