Chapters 13 & 14

Chapter 13 continues to tell the details of Lia’s story and experience in the hospital. More specifically, it discusses her final days in the hospital and how they are addressing her medical condition. The chapter also discusses death and how the Hmong people address someone in their culture dying. I thought the tradition of  bringing different sets of clothes to the hospital was very intriguing. They explain this tradition as an essential. On page 174, it says, “if you don’t dress them up (the one who is dying), then after they pass away, you always dream of them being naked. It is not really good to see a person naked, so we dress them in special clothes.” I found this tradition of death very interesting because there are so many different traditions of what to do when someone is dying/ has died in the US. For example, some people want to be cremated, others buried. Also, people fall on very different sides as far as what to do when someone is in critical condition such as Lia’s. Is it right to pull the plug if someone is in critical condition or is it essential to keep them alive? This concept is also touched upon in the chapter when Lia’s caregivers consider stopping feeding her through her tube.

Chapter 14 was even more interesting. It discussed the discrimination and hardship that the Hmong experience in the United States. It draws attention to the level of inequality that they experience and how different they are viewed in society. The chapter is titled, “The Melting Pot” which is explained in the first few pages of the chapter. On page 183, it says, “Hmong are what sociologist call “involuntary migrants.” It is well known that involuntary migrants, no matter what pot they are thrown into, tend not to melt.” I thought this statement was very powerful and very true based on the story that we have been told about the Lee family. The Hmong people did not come to America to melt into American culture and forget where they came from. They are proud and loyal to their culture and this is what causes the strain between cultures throughout the book. I admire the Lee family and the other Hmong people for being so loyal to their culture even if they are aware that they may be discriminated against and provided with different opportunity because of it. Personally, I consider this very brave of the Hmong people because I know that when times get tough, it is easy to assimilate and conform to the easiest option. Although it has not been culturally, I have experienced this many times where I feel inclined to compromise my personal belief system when times are tough. All in all, I found this quote and chapter very powerful and accurate to what we have learned thus far about the Lee’s.

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