History and Cultures of Southeast Asia
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Essay Questions Assignment
Please type and single-space your responses to the following questions, clearly labeling the question being addressed and utilizing standard margins and a 12-point font. Your responses will be based primarily on the Fadiman text and associated class resources and discussions. Include a citation (any standard format is fine) if you are: a) referring to information gleaned from outside of the Fadiman text or; b) using a direct quotation from any source. Responses getting high marks will demonstrate the following characteristics: a thorough treatment of the issues raised in the question, well written, tight organization, and thoughtful. The assignment is worth 50 points, and is due on the day of our Final Exam (please bring a hard copy to class). If you would like to turn it in earlier, that is fine.
1. Discuss the central conflict of the book, i.e., the clash between the culture of the Hmong and the culture of ‘western biomedicine.’ Why did the Lees act as they did regarding Lia Lee’s condition? Why did her doctors act as they did? How did their (both the Lees’ and the doctors’) attitudes and actions reflect their underlying cultural beliefs regarding the body, wellness, illness, and healing?
(~ 1/2 page)
2. Discuss at least three (3) aspects of Hmong culture that struck you as particularly interesting or unusual. Hmong culture has often been viewed by non-Hmong Americans as ‘backward’; the attitude is typically, ‘they (the Hmong) need to learn our (mainstream U.S) ways.’ Taking the opposite approach, what lessons do you think the Hmong could teach mainstream U.S. society? (~1/2 page)
3. Towards the end of the book (pg. 259) Fadiman poses the question “Was the gulf [between the Lees and their doctors] unbridgeable?” What do youthink? Reflect on the ‘eight questions’ developed by Arthur Kleinman and his comments on page 261 in regards to this question. (~1/2 page)
4. What did you learn from this book? (i.e., discuss a few aspects or issues that particularly interested, surprised, or provoked you). (~1/2 page)