Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.
Any subject. Any type of essay.
We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.
121 writers online
The debate between religion verses science has been a conflict over centuries and a dividing factor in modern day culture. Typically, doctors have a difficult time understanding a patient’s decision to deny treatment because of their beliefs and religion, which could potentially terminate a life-threatening disease. However, in Grey’s Anatomy, a popular television series, the doctors of Seattle Grace Hospital encounter many patients that require alternate treatments because of their faith. This is apparent in the episode, “Bring the Pain,” where a young American Hmong woman is not allowed to undergo surgery until she finds one of her loss souls, which is said to have caused the illness. I believe the producers did a respectable job in introducing this religious ideology, into the series, by presenting a division but not in a negative light. I also thought the portrayal was respectful and tasteful to the proper rituals, traditions, and cultures of the Hmong faith.
Anna, the young woman in need of spinal surgery, looked like a “typical” Asian-American woman. Yet, it took the doctors, and many viewers, by surprise when she had to ask her father for permission to undergo the surgery. He wouldn’t allow her to have the surgery and planned on taking her home that day. Doctor Shepard explained that since she was over 18 she didn’t need her parents’ consent. Anna responds, “I’m Hmong and my father is the elder. If he says I go home, I go home.”
Even in an emergency situation, the man is the dominant figure in the family. The traditional gender roles in the Hmong religion are very distinct and come from the time of Confucius. The mother is the nurturer of the children and home while the man’s duty involves family responsibility and the provision for the physical and spiritual welfare of his family. The man is able to consult with his wife in a decision but has the final say and announcement.
The doctors immediately insisted on calling Social Services because of the severity of the tumor and unethical decision Anna’s father was making, according to the Doctors’ opinions. Nonetheless, Meredith Grey felt she was missing information and sat down with Anna to understand what was allowed and alternatives that could be used. Anna explained, “Our religion has got rules that are way old and way set in stone and way spiritual, you don’t mess with them. You don’t anger the ancestors.”
The Hmong people believe in ancestor veneration, the dead have a continued existence, and may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. The loyalty in a Hmong family is one of the most highly valued virtues because if the ancestors are satisfied, the lives of the living will be positive. In this episode, it is clear that Anna wants to stay loyal to her traditions and ancestors, even though it might seem peculiar to someone not apart of the religion.
One of the beliefs Anna explained to Meredith was the calling back of one of her loss souls, which was why her father would not let her undergo surgery. Meredith quickly explains to Dr. Shepard that there needs to be a soul calling ceremony, also known as a hu plig, and then the surgery could move forward. Anna’s family shaman flies in by helicopter in traditional dress and robe and performs the ceremony in the hospital room. Anna turns to Meredith before the start and says, “I know it sounds like a load of crap but watch the ritual, you’ll see…. The moment it happens. In this process, a Shaman, an intermediary between this world and the spirit world, performs chants and food offerings in hopes to achieve a harmony between the living and the ancestors. This episode does just that. Of course, there is fire and dramatic music to play on the tension and anticipation of finding the loss soul but is tastefully done, otherwise.
People will always find something wrong with the portrayal of a specific religion in popular culture to ensure the protection of the beliefs and to avoid mockery. It is almost impossible to please every individual who watches a religion being represented because of the details that come with it. For example, a Hmong person living in the East would probably not even use modern or western medicine but because of entertainment purposes and American production this could be the reason this occurred in the episode.
Overall, I feel that the representation of the Hmong was a positive portrayal because of the explanation of beliefs and rituals. The viewers saw from the beginning the traditional gender divide but it wasn’t abusive like other shows have portrayed Asian culture, in the past. The writers made sure to explain that it was a part of their religion and even though it might seem odd to a Catholic or another religious domination, it could be solved but it was just the steps needed to be taken to follow their religious guidelines. I also believe by showing the ritual and talking about the ancestors it helped viewers have a more positive outlook and open mind on different cultures, especially less known like the Hmong.
We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:
Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.
Attention! this essay is not unique. You can get 100% plagiarism FREE essay in 30sec
Sorry, we cannot unicalize this essay. You can order Unique paper and our professionals Rewrite it for you
Your essay sample has been sent.
Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.Order now
Are you interested in getting a customized paper?Check it out!