The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

collision of two cultures, how?

what is meant by collision of two cultures in the spirit catches you and you fall down. why this collision occured?

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Culture plays a major role in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Every other chapter shares some aspect of Hmong history or culture: food, clothing, language, family structure, birthing rituals, and so on. The Hmong traditionally lived high in the mountains of Laos, where they practiced agriculture and subsisted primarily on rice, vegetables, herbs, and occasionally pork or chicken. They believe that most disease has a spiritual cause and can be alleviated through traditional forms of healing such as rubbing the skin with coins, creating a vacuum by igniting cotton soaked in alcohol under a tiny cup, or drawing disease out with an egg. A tvix neeb, or shaman, could conduct more powerful healing; such a figure is thought to be able to get rid of evil spirits called dabs and retrieve lost souls.

Certain aspects of Hmong culture, such as taboos against medical procedures, beliefs about the origins of diseases, and power structures within the family and the clan often conflict with the culture of western medicine, resulting in misunderstandings between doctors and patients. Other aspects, such as utilizing animal sacrifice in shamanic ceremonies, have lead to conflicts between the Hmong and their American neighbors; for instance, some Americans believe the Hmong are kidnapping and killing neighborhood dogs. Lia Lee's tragedy is presented as the result of this cultural collision and highlights the need for a new model of cultural understanding and cooperation.