e. according to American norms and conventions. Part of this, incidentally, was due too to the fault of government itself that failed to provide them with the land, which the Hmong could have fertilized.

I realized that even thoguh America has gone a long way in attempting to appreciate other cultures and in refraining from foisting their own way of life on cultures other than they; they still do so to a certain extent.

I also wonder why people found it so hard to understand that others coming from lives so different than they would need time to acclimate and learn their language.

Most of all I was impressed with the steadfastness, courage, and resilience of the Lees to resolutely cling to her traditions and way of life despite recrimination and hardship.

There are some things that are better in the Hmong culture than in the Western culture, such as the mans devotion to his wife, faithfulness, marital stability, and family functionality. America can learn much from these, and similar aspects.

Chap 15-16

I was impressed with the way that the family viewed Lia. A Western / American family may have seen her as unproductive and therefore as barely worth attention and as a drain on their time and money. America, it seems to me, views individuals in terms of their consumption-value (i.e. how much they can produce to society). The Lees, however, saw Lia as a person even thoguh she no longer seemed to have mental acuities and was a hardship on them.

I wondered too whether it might be cultural perspectives and beliefs that lead to respect of an individual. Amerce that views in terms of dollar-value may readily shift aside an individual who does not fulfill his or her expectations. A religion that perceives a person as created in the image of God, may accordingly respect the person. The Hmong who see a spirit as inhabiting individuals may likewise respect the individuals for the very essence of who he/she is.

I discovered too that Western values had left their impact on me when I found myself feeling frustrated at Fouas spending so much time on Lia at sacrifice of her own and her familys life.

Chap. 17-18

The enduring question in these two chapters was the responsibility of a hospice nurse or actually the responsibility of anyone to people at the end of their life.

Medical personnel try to cure people at all costs, but sometimes, the most human thing is simply to let them die.

I realized that, however, difficult it may be, sensitivity to the individual, compassion to the patient and to his or her family and caregivers, as well as attempts to understand and help the other according to their cultural beliefs and circumstances may, ultimately, be the most helpful thing.

The ethical dilemma that still exists and that I would not know how to answer is what do when prescriptions f your own culture and that of the other conflict. Doctors have to be humane and bring culture into the equation, but there may be times when culture has to be overruled for the safety and protection of the individual (such as when withdrawing blood when necessary for the others protection, even thoguh a culture may forbid blood-letting.)

Chap 19

The last chapter is a repeat and synopsis of the cultural shaking impact that the entire book has on the way that I saw life. The Lees were a poor family; yet they spent much of their resources on a pig sacrifice that they believed was important for Lias spirit. Some Americans may have scorned the irrationality of that performance and the amount of expense spent on it. Yet I think that the expense points to the Lees love for their child. Some Hmong, likewise, may have been perplexed at many of the items that we spend enormous cost on.

The Hmong believes in the efficacy of certain rituals. This belief makes it his reality. We believe in certain rituals of our own and this creates our reality. The lesson that I learned from this chapter in particular and from the book as a whole, is that it is very difficult to rate realities and challenging to stop different realities from battering one another and attempting to understand that multiple realties may exist.


Fadiman, A. The spirit catches you and you fall.

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