The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down – Book Review Directions Questions to

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down – Book Review Directions
Questions to Answer
As you write your book review, take notes as you answer these questions. The answers to the questions
provide the content needed to write the book review. Begin the book review the answer to #1 – provide
the historic context as to why the Hmong are considered, “allergic to all kind of authority.” This helps to
provide your thesis for the paper centered on the collision of cultures.
1. Over many centuries the Hmong fought against a number of different
peoples who claimed sovereignty over their lands; they were also forced to
emigrate from China. How do you think these up-heavals have affected their
culture? What role has history played in the formation of Hmong culture?
 P. 13 For as long as it has been recorded, the history of the Hmong has been a marathon
series of bloody scrimmages, punctuated by occasional periods of peace, though hardly
any of plenty. Over and over again the Hmong have responded to persecution and to
pressures to assimilate by either fighting or migrating – a pattern that has been repeated
so many times, in so many different eras and places, that it begins to seem almost a
genetic trait.
 p. 15 “allergic to all kind of authority”
 p. 18 & 19
2. The concept of “fish soup” Ch. 2, is central to the author’s understanding of the Hmong. What
does it mean, and how is it reflected in the structure of the book?
 Hmong student took 45 minutes in a French class to present a 5 minute presentation
on the preparation of fish soup. Professor reports, “Fish Soup, that’s the essence of the
Hmong. This is “to speak of all kinds of things.” It is often used at the beginning of
oral narrative as a way of reminding listeners that the world is full of things that may
not seem to be connected by are; no event occurs in isolation – This is probably
where the disconnect with biomedical culture begins, we are unwilling to listen to
their side, to validate what they think and feel is the problem. Biomedicine just tells
the patient, “You are wrong, I am right, do this to get better.” They (the patient) does
not do what you dictate and does not recover – and now is that your fault? Guess
what? It is your fault!
3. Dr. Dave Schneider said, “The language barrier was the most obvious problem, but not the most
important. The biggest problem was the cultural barrier. There is a tremendous difference between
dealing with the Hmong and dealing with anyone else – an infinite difference” (p. 91). What does he
mean by this?
4. How did you feel when Child Protective Services took Lia away from her parents? Do you
believe it was the right decision? Was any other solution possible in the situation?
 Visiting nurse three times per day to observe medication administration
 Use a culture broker from the Hmong community – insight, understanding, etc.. Still,
the family must accept that culture broker, or you have another problem as the one
with … p. 51 shows a good example of asking the RIGHT questions and enlisting the
aid of the cultural community.
11. What does Dan Murphy mean by, “When you fail one Hmong patient, you fail the whole
community” (p. 253)?
12. Chapter 18 – Life or the Soul – pg. 278
Provide examples of how the social worker, Francesca Farr, worked with her Hmong patient to ensure
the patient took the medication needed to cure tuberculosis. Discuss this case and other cases in this
chapter that applied or should have applied Kleinman’s Patient Explanatory Model in providing needed