Rebecca Skloot Essay

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With Rebecca Skloot 's own investigation on the personal lives of the Lacks family, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks surpasses typical HeLa research reports by not only giving insight to the cells, but also to the people behind them. In presenting her writing as both a narrative and as a body of scientific information, Skloot attempts to fulfill the dual purpose of informing and entertaining her readers, distinguishing The Immortal Life from other impersonal works on the same matter. With the benefits of this dual purpose, however, obviously come problems. Being a non-fiction narrative, the story neither aims to exclusively inform nor entertain, resulting in a work that is too personal to give only relevant information, yet too informational…show more content…
Skloot 's personal relationships with the family members further detract from the unbiased, informational theme the book once had when Skloot herself enters the story as another character. Her intimacy with Deborah leads Skloot to not only greatly sympathize with her, but also to move the whole focus of the latter half of the book to their shared experiences. Chapter 34, for instance, focuses mainly on the emotional and even physical upheavals between her and Deborah when Skloot attempts to include Henrietta 's medical records in her book. Although Skloot 's intended purpose was to capture Deborah 's sensitivity concerning her mother, at this point in the story it had already been well established that the subject of Henrietta was not easily dealt with by the Lacks family. From this chapter on, the story has completely lost the engaging scientific ethos it once described and concludes as one about Skloot and her dealings with Deborah. The Immortal Life ultimately evolves from being the factual story of Henrietta Lacks to being the predisposed story of Rebecca Skloot. Rebecca Skloot does accomplish her primary goal in writing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – shedding light on the woman behind HeLa and the complications she and her family faced. But with inconsistencies in character development, a diminishing plot sophistication, and a potentially biased point of view, The Immortal Life is questionable in terms of its excellence as a piece of creative
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