A Hmong community leader in Merced. Jonas attended the most elite secondary school in Laos before eventually earning a master’s degree from a French university. After working as a computer analyst in Paris, he relocated to Merced because he believed it was his “moral responsibility” to help his people in their American resettlement. Jonas is a valuable resource for Fadiman, who asks him many questions about Hmong culture and about what it’s like to be such a revered community leader. One night, he tells her, “You can place me anyplace, and I will survive, but I will not belong. I must tell you that I do not really belong anywhere.”
Jonas Vangay Character Timeline in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
The timeline below shows where the character Jonas Vangay appears in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16: Why Did They Pick Merced?