The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

by

Anne Fadiman

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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.”
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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?
History and Ethnic Identity Theme Icon
Integration and Assimilation Theme Icon
...retrospect) that the reason the Hmong chose to settle in Merced has to do with Dang Moua, a local Hmong entrepreneur and businessman who was at one time a clerk-typist at... (full context)
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
History and Ethnic Identity Theme Icon
Integration and Assimilation Theme Icon
...welfare of any county in California. Unfortunately, the non-Hmong citizens of Merced blamed the Hmong; Dang told Fadiman a story about a man who pulled up to him on the street... (full context)
Integration and Assimilation Theme Icon
Fadiman discusses Blia Yao Moua and Jonas Vangay , two other successful Hmong leaders in Merced. Blia was the executive director of Lao... (full context)