This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

Hmong Faith's Portrayal in Drama Series Grey's Anatomy

downloadDownload printPrint

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.

Any subject. Any type of essay. We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

Get your price

121 writers online

Hmong Faith's Portrayal in Drama Series Grey's Anatomy essay
Download PDF

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.[1]”

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[2]. 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.[3]”

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[4]. 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.[5] In this process, a Shaman, an intermediary between this world and the spirit world[6], 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.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Hmong Faith’s Portrayal in Drama Series Grey’s Anatomy. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from
“Hmong Faith’s Portrayal in Drama Series Grey’s Anatomy.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
Hmong Faith’s Portrayal in Drama Series Grey’s Anatomy. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 Nov. 2021].
Hmong Faith’s Portrayal in Drama Series Grey’s Anatomy [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 03 [cited 2021 Nov 30]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.


    Attention! This essay is not unique. You can get a 100% Plagiarism-FREE one in 30 sec

    Receive a 100% plagiarism-free essay on your email just for $4.99
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Having trouble finding the perfect essay? We’ve got you covered. Hire a writer

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!


    Professional writers and researchers


    Sources and citation are provided


    3 hour delivery