The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a book written by Rebecca Skloot. Chapter 1 begins shortly after Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, and her son, Joe, were born. After those two were born, she then began to experience vaginal bleeding at the wrong time of the month. Feeling like something was wrong, Henrietta rushed to the doctor. She only went to see the doctor “If she felt she had no other choice”.
On January 29, 1951, an African American woman named Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with Stage 1, Epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix, after her visit to John Hopkins Hospital. Henrietta began radium treatments which was proven to kill cancer cells and a safer option than surgery, according to her physician Howard Jones. Jones increased Henrietta’s dose of radiation in hopes to decrease the size of the tumors however the treatments were proven ineffective and her skin was burned blacker while the pain grew unbearable until she passed away on October 4, 1951. She left behind her husband David “Day” and five children: Lawrence, Elsie, David Jr, Deborah, and Zakariyya (Joe). This paper will focus on how Henrietta Lack’s and her family’s experience
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of Henrietta, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line. Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks, aided by journalist Rebecca Skloot. Deborah wanted to learn about her mother, and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever. It is a story of medical arrogance and triumph, race, poverty and deep friendship between the unlikeliest people. There had been many books published about Henrietta’s cells, but nothing about Henrietta’s personality, experiences, feeling, life style etc.
Henrietta Lacks was a black tobacco farmer from the south who, in 1950, at the age of 30, she was diagnosed with aggressive cervical cancer. Lacks went to John’s Hopkins medical center for treatment for her cancer. In April of 1951, she underwent surgery to remove the larger tumor on her cervix. Henrietta Lacks, died three days following the surgery. Even though Henrietta Lacks died, her cells from the tumor have lived on and have made a major impact on the biomedical community.
Bushra Pirzada Professor Swann Engh-302 October 4th 2015 Rhetorical Analysis: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks written by Rebecca Skloot tells the story of a woman named Henrietta Lacks who has her cervical cancer. It further goes to tell the audience how Henrietta altered medicine unknowingly. Henrietta Lacks was initially diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951; however, the doctors at John Hopkins took sample tissues from her cervix without her permission. The sample tissues taken from Henrietta’s cervix were used to conduct scientific research as well as to develop vaccines in the suture.
Multiple times throughout the book it was mentioned that Henrietta’s biopsy took place 60 years ago and a lot of changes have been made to science and ethics. This book did a good job bringing up ethics in science and scientific achievements that have been made over the years, but in some ways it was sensationalized to get the family the recognition they feel they deserved. As a poor, black family, the Lacks’ were discriminated against. Even the medical treatments they received were often not the best treatments offered and they were often experimented on. Having the fear of being mistreated and used for experimentation made the Lacks’ even more upset about Henrietta’s death.
Nonetheless, the consequences of this perspective is normal people like you and me are perceived to see Henrietta Lacks and her family as an object in a museum. The consequences of this could be disrespecting the family like many other writers and scientific researchers did many times before Rebecca Skloot. They saw Henrietta Lacks and her family as a road side-show because of how the family was perceived and privacy of the family was put in danger as a result of the consequences given on how the media and scientific community saw Henrietta Lacks and the Lacks family. Thereafter, Rebecca Skloot conducted herself in a different way she tried to get to know the family. She was actually interested in the story of Henrietta Lacks and her family.
Part two of, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, once again submerges the reader in to the world of HeLa cells. This section emphasizes what occurred with Henrietta’s immortal cells after her death. Along with the many medical discoveries made from these miracle cells, part two delves into the physical and emotional abuse that Henrietta’s children were forced to live with after her passing all while struggling financially while their mother’s cells are being sold for millions of dollars. Skloot continues her phenomenal synopsis of the life of Henrietta Lacks and the stories her cells continue to tell. One of the utmost riveting and critical scenes of this section occurs in the first few pages.
Despite the wrongdoings Henrietta Lacks was put through her cells did a lot to help advance science. Her cells helped develop different types of vaccines, which such as her daughter faced. A lot of good and bad came out of Henrietta’s
Deborah states, "Truth be told, I can 't get mad at science because it help people live, and I 'd be a mess without it. I 'm a walking drugstore! I can 't say nuthin bad about science, but I won 't lie, I would like some health insurance so I don 't got to pay all that money every month for drugs my mother cells probably helped make". This explains how Deborah has to spend all her money on not even all her medication because she can 't even afford health insurance that will cover her medicine. African Americans who were
The story, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, explores the true story of a woman named Deborah and her journey to discover more information about her mother and what her cells did for humanity. Deborah’s mother, Henrietta, died of cancer and her cells, which were attained by inhumane means, contributed greatly to the scientific study of curing other diseases. Although, Henrietta’s death also had a great impact on Deborah due to the fact that Deborah had to face certain difficult situations. With her passing, Deborah was forced to live with a cousin of her mother, who abused her and had a husband who also verbally and sexually mistreated her. The abuse is prominently shown when Galen, the husband, screams at Henrietta, “Get back here till I finish with you, Dale!
In Ernest Gaines’ novel, A Lesson Before Dying, the author uses a third person point of view to assess the issue of racial injustice in the South during the 1940’s. Grant understands that justice is evaluated unfairly and knows that it does not favor the poor and uneducated black man. Due to Grant’s ability to be able to understand others, he successfully learns how to bring justice, while assisting Jefferson. This presents the audience the significance of the novel as a whole, embracing responsibility and facing injustice.
Discrimination was everywhere during the 1900’s when this book was set. Prejudice in this book is displayed by hate for any colored or mixed racial people. During this time in the southern states, blacks had their own bathrooms, drinking fountains, churches, and even go to separate schools just because the whites looked down upon them and wouldn 't want to be contaminated by the “black germs.” The novel has many accounts of racism and prejudice.