The spirit catches you and you fall down summary pdf

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the spirit catches you and you fall down summary pdf

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Study Guide | Literature Guide | LitCharts

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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Review

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Lia, 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.

The Lee family were political refugees fleeing their home country of Laos in response to the "Silent War" and the subsequent loss of livelihood and starvation its inhabitants faced. The parents, Foua mother and Nao Kao father , traveled through rough terrain and literally dodged the bullets of political enemies to bring their twelve children to safety in a refugee camp. While at the refugee camp, Foua delivered their thirteenth child. They were then relocated to California, a place chosen not by the family but by the US immigration officials who were trying to evenly spread the great number of immigrants across the country. While in America, Foua delivered their fourteenth child, Lia.

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.

The best study guide to The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down on the planet, from the creators of SparkNotes. Get the summaries Get the entire The Spirit Catches You LitChart as a printable PDF. "My students can't get.
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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

All but one of their other children had been born in Laos, where the birthing traditions were very different than in the United States. Foua delivered each child with her own hands, without a birth attendant, keeping silent to avoid thwarting the birth with noise. She then washed each baby with water she had carried from the stream. Her husband helped by bringing her hot water to drink if she needed it, cutting the umbilical cord, and tying it with string. He also buried the placenta, under the bed if the baby was a girl and near the base of the central pillar of the house if it were a boy. The Hmong believe that a person's soul travels back from place to place until it reaches the placenta, which it must put on like a jacket in order to continue its journey to the place where it reunites with its ancestors and will someday be reborn. Without the placenta, the soul is condemned to wander for all time.




  1. Amelia S. says:

    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman Plot Summary | LitCharts

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    How It All Goes Down

  3. Ingrid Á. says:

    Get all the key plot points of Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down The spirit catches you and you fall

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    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Summary

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