Conditions had made catarinas life not worth living

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conditions had made Catarina’s life not worth living, Biehl’s reflections on ‘common sense,’ citing Clifford Geertz’s work summarizes Catarina’s situation, “…in the absence of common sense, one is a ‘defective’ person” (Biehl: 9). Biehl’s interest in Catarina as a person is found in the quote, “She stood out in that context of annihilation; she refused to be reduced to her physical condition and fate” (Biehl 11). This shows that the author sees past what her family and the people at Vista think. “In Catarina’s own words, ‘out of justice’”( Biehl 22) is how she talks about the infrastructure that makes the decisions (Vista) for people. With places like Vista, the sick are brought here and only get worse because of the lack of care and knowledge, someone like Catarina might have a mental illness but having her family abandon her only makes things worse. I think we can take a fair bit of information from this introductory chapter of the book on why it is so important for everyone to have access to good and free or at least affordable health care. We would not want to have our loved ones have the same fate as Catarina just because of an issue of affordability and places like Vista that will simply not be able to adequately help the people in need. But more importantly, this introduction calls us to reflect on the anthropological endeavor that Biehl poses: “ To try to apprehend these colloquial assessments and judgments of reality—that are more assumed than analyzed—as they determine “which kinds of lives societies support” (9).
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