Chapter 19 and overview

The beginning of Chapter 19 detailed the tale of how the illness came.  Then came the healing ceremony with the txiv neeb and Lia. Within the ceremony, a couple of pigs was to be sacrificed.  The txiv neeb was definitely not what I thought he’d look like with his panda t shirt, and blue t-shirt, and watching Winnie the Pooh.  However, the ceremony was really interesting and they had to spend $225 which is unfortunate but I’m sure incredibly worth it. It’s also interesting how many adjustments some immigrants must make to adapt their traditions to fit into American culture.  The description of the after effect of the ceremony was really important as well. “I saw that I had underestimated him.” I feel like Americans tend to have an issue with underestimating other cultures, which where the problem begins.


The rest of the description of the ceremony was really beautifully moving but still a wee bit dissatisfying.  With the overview, we learned about the fates of the rest of the characters. Unfortunately, Lia still remained in a vegetative state.  However, Nao Kao, unfortunately, passed away. Additionally, all the doctors at the hospital had left. Actually, I had used a copy of the book from the library for this semester and it didn’t include a afterword so I immediately had to find a copy with the foreword in it.  I can’t imagine folks being satisfied with that ending the way that it stood.


Overall, I think that this was a fantastic foundational text for the course.  Looking at race and health, this novel hits on racial identity, immigration, and even cultural competency.  This novel was incredibly frustrating at times because it’s as if I wished I could talk to both the Lee’s and the health professionals.  However, still looking at the text as a whole, I still put the most blame on the hospital and healthcare professionals. I feel like their systemic dismissal of the Lees really failed Lia.  I also think in general that it’s just so important for the stories of the marginalized to get told in the right way. These stories, that truly center the marginalized, help combat stereotypes about said groups and catalyze conversations across cultures.

Published by