The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

by

Anne Fadiman

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Dee Korda Character Analysis

Lia’s foster mom and Tom Korda’s wife. Dee is a gentle, kind person who devotes herself to caring for children. When Lia joins the Korda family, they already have five biological children and six foster children, many of whom have cognitive disabilities or mental health issues. By the time Fadiman meets her, Dee has cared for 35 foster children. Though Lia is extraordinarily difficult while living with the Kordas—crying constantly and behaving badly toward the other children—Dee grows to love her and establishes a relationship with Foua and Nao Kao, frequently inviting them over to visit their daughter and even asking them to babysit for her on occasion. She also confirms the Lees’ claim that certain drugs—tegretol and phenobarbital in particular—profoundly affect Lia in negative ways, a sentiment the Lees have been trying to communicate for a long time to no avail. After getting to know Foua and Nao Kao, Dee writes a letter to Child Protective Services insisting that Lia should return to her real home.
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Dee Korda Character Timeline in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

The timeline below shows where the character Dee Korda appears in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: Government Property
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
Blame and Power Theme Icon
...the six months that Lia was “government property,” she was placed in the care of Dee and Tom Korda, two seasoned parents who had already housed many foster children (many with... (full context)
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
...of medication. This task was made slightly easier by the fact that Terry Hutchinson—a doctor Dee had taken Lia to at Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno—had decided to prescribe Depakene without... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Big One
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
Blame and Power Theme Icon
...the hospital. When they arrived, the doctors were “preparing the family for Lia to die.” Dee and Tom Korda also visited; Dee later recalled in conversation with Fadiman that the doctors... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Eight Questions
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
...At Jeanine Hilt’s suggestion, they re-enrolled Lia in the Schelby Center for Special Education, where Dee Korda (whose foster child was cognitively challenged) often saw her and was filled with sadness.... (full context)