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Suspicious of historians who amplify scant evidence to show sweeping challenges to and reassertions of patriarchal rule, Burnard finds that "family life remained essentially the same through the colonial period" (p.
Given the centrality of such reassertions of mastery in the illness narrative, it's paradoxical that a cultural imperative to self-revelation should also be at work, that indeed it should be precisely through the confessional process of uncovering, of laying bare the details of the suffering body, that the sick person must heal herself.
But the true answer may lie in the simultaneous reassertions of independence of the French legal system and the press.