This book refers to the many assumptions that are usually made about people. A lot of stereotypes exist regarding one's ethnicity and class. People are often categorized and judged wrongly due to these general facts that people often hold on individuals who have similar characteristics. Many instances in the book portray aspects of blind-spots, miscommunications, and misunderstanding. One of such cases is the part where we come across a child who is the first casualty as we observe the child's health status. A broader social impact is brought to perspective at this point. The divide that exists between the US and Hmong is seemingly unsurmountable (Fadiman, 2012).
The cross-cultural rhetoric depicted and the acts of intercultural communication in existence bring about the aspect of the world that is a global society. The prospect of crossing boundaries set off is more daunting than it ever was. The aspect of the diversity and the differences in the cultures and the people is shown in the book.
The Hmong folktales used by Fadiman bring out the aspects of the values and temperament in play. One of the characters, the Orphan is seen to be recurring, and this is a representation of the Hmong people. In spite of the hurdles that he faces like how he is all alone in the margins of the society, he is resilient, talented and courageous. He also can use an esteemed musical instrument. Shee Yee, who is also another character, is seen to shapeshift as a way of escaping the nine evil dabs. This goes to show how resilient Hmong is in the he prefers to put a fight than give up.
The doctors in the book are perplexed over the taboos practiced that are against the use of the modern medicine which includes surgery and blood tests. Medicine is practiced in the manner that they were taught without taking any consideration of rationalizing the western perspective in their Hmong traditional ways. An example of such an instance is when a Hmong doctor states that the best way that they would treat a patient was through the head a method they referred to as a transcortical lead therapy of high velocity (Fadiman, 2012). Through Lees perspective, the animist way that the Hmong people observed was seen as the only legitimate way of going through life.
The resistance of other ways of culture by the Hmong people is due to the experiences that they had faced through oppression exile war and starvation. The denial of adapting into other cultures is seen in how they continue to speak in Hmong and practice their traditions and religion without changing to any other. As time goes by the even, seem to be getting more into theses cultures than ever before. The Lees and the doctors all seem to be in awe of each others beliefs as the doctors refer to Lias condition as epilepsy while the Lees say it is a soul loss (Fadiman, 2012). Due to the different cultural understanding of pathologies, the recommended treatment also differs. As usual, the doctors sort the remedy of epilepsy as anticonvulsant drugs while the Lees felt that the use of a shaman would be the solution to their daughters condition. The doctors are incapable of offering the appropriate communication to Lia's parents on the effectiveness of the drugs she required and these results in the parents being very suspicious of the medication.
Fadiman, A. (2012). The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. Macmillan.
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