Rhetorical Analysis: The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

989 Words4 Pages
Bushra Pirzada
Professor Swann
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. Her sample tissues were known as HeLa cells. Skloot purpose is to create awareness among the audience about
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She repetitively discusses the process she went through in order to get an interview with Henrietta’s family and friends, more specifically with Deborah. Not only does she personally interviews family member and friends but she also discusses HeLa cells and other essential information by finding credible sources. For example, “According to Judith Greenburg, director of the Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology at the National Institute of General Medical Science, the NIH now has “very stringent guidelines” requiring consent for any tissues collected for their banks.” (Skloot 318) She cites scholarly articles and credible sources to establish her knowledge in the subject before writing a novel about Henrietta’s life, as well as to show the readers the credibility of her sources. This particular act conveys to the reader that Skloot wanted to be concise and precise while informing the audience about Henrietta’s…show more content…
For example Skloot in the prologue writes, “In culture, cancer cells can go on dividing indefinitely, if they have a continual supply of nutrients, and thus are said to be “immortal.” A striking example is a cell line that has been reproducing in culture since 1951.” (Skloot 5) As a writer she chooses to do so to give the audience a better comprehension to little details; she educates the readers before elaborating further into the subject. In one of the chapters Skloot easily explains cell life, cell division, and how cells are cultured using logos in a manner that anyone and everyone would effortlessly comprehend. Couple examples of logos was when Skloot’s mentions, “According to Howard Jones and other gynecologic oncologists I talked with, the correct diagnosis wouldn’t have changed the way Henrietta’s cancer was treated”(Skloot 172) and “In 1928 a German virologist named Harald zur Hausen discovered a new strain of a sexually transmitted virus called Human Papilloma Virus 18 (HPV-18).'' (Skloot 212) She uses reliable sources and discreetly informs the reader that she isn’t saying things out of thin air but instead she uses proper sources to validate her points in her novel. She uses logos by discussing scientific information and explanations, as well as the degree of Henrietta’s impact on
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