The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

1172 Words5 Pages
What is Unintentional Becomes Valuable
The novel The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written almost sixty years after the death of Henrietta Lacks, was produced by Rebecca Skloot who, while researching, personally interacted with the family and educated them on the topic. After Henrietta’s death, her family is left with a great amount of confusion and dissatisfaction. Not only can Deborah Lacks, daughter of Henrietta, and her siblings not comprehend what happens to Henrietta and her cells, but an underlying pit of anger and fear within them deepens from not knowing. Until Skloot makes an appearance in their life, the Lackses trust no white person and live in oblivion to the world around them which Henrietta impacted. No previous reporter
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Skloot works hard throughout her time with Deborah to reiterate what her goals are: Letting the world learn the history of HeLa cells and Henrietta herself. At a later point during their research, Deborah begins interrogating Skloot with the same questions she has asked several times before which stem from her inability to trust others. She wants to make sure Skloot would not reveal certain personal information they gathered. All because of a smile on Skloot’s face, Deborah is triggered and begins asking ‘“Who you working for?”’ and proclaiming ‘“You’re lying!”’ (283) The intensity Deborah accuses Skloot with is key in conveying the weakness Deborah still holds even while knowing and working with Skloot. Even though Skloot could not include the private information in the novel, she records this conversation to ensure that the reader can track the evolution of Deborah’s mental outlook. In addition, Deborah suddenly has a stroke which Skloot blames herself for being the cause of the it. However, when healed, Deborah insists “From now on, I ride with you” (301). Because it took the span of the entire novel for Deborah to open up to the idea of riding with Skloot, Skloot makes it evident of the dramatic shift in Deborah’s trust. Skloot includes nonessential information such as who was riding in which car and snippets of conversations that did not pertain to Henrietta. This dialogue highlights Deborah’s development emotionally so she can be more
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