I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot for the first time in high school for a summer reading assignment I was rushing to complete the last week of summer break. Four years later, I chose to read this book again because I now have an interest in biochemistry, in particular a goal to study antiviral agents in the hopes of a Hepatitis B cure. This time around, I understood the significance this book had because it revealed details of the racist treatment of African Americas that are intertwined with the hidden truths and hypocritical acts of the medical system that unfortunately still exist. On October 4, 1951 Henrietta Lacks died from cervical cancer at the young age of 31.
The purpose of literature is to move the reader. Some authors turn to laughter or tears to make the most significant impact. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a biography by Rebecca Skloot, Skloot uses a pathos appeal to incite the reader to pity characters in the book, such as Deborah and Elsie Lacks. As Rebecca Skloot and Deborah go looking for information on Elsie, Deborah’s sister, they go to the Hospital for the Negro Insane.
In the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, education plays a substantial role in what occurs throughout the book. Many major events are related to people not understanding what is happening to them. Skloot brings up the topic ’Lack of Education,’ frequently and this affected Henrietta's treatments, and how her family viewed the situation, and how the black community viewed scientist overall. In many occasions lack of education causes a major event to happen, “she didn't write much, and she hadn't studied science in school,”(pg 16) with little education Henrietta had no idea what was wrong with her. Without Henrietta or her family knowing symptoms of certain diseases Henrietta does not go to the hospital till the end.
fend for themselves, despite being relatives to one of the most important individuals’ in cell-line history. Now, knowing the full potential of these cells, the question arises of why the Lacks family was not told of the cells by the scientists themselves. Many possibilities arise, but the main one is that the existence of the cells would have gone against the wishes of the family. The sample of the tumor was taken before Henrietta died, but permission to perform tests was only requested after her death. Additionally, the permission was initially not granted by Day, her husband, to perform any additional test on her body.
“Benevolent deception” is a typical practice where doctors purposely mask important information from their patients for the patients’ own benefit. Doctors will restrain information because “they believed it was best not to confuse or upset patients with frightening terms they might not understand, like cancer” (Skloot, 2010, 2011, p. 63). In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, doctors withheld crucial information from Henrietta, and overall left her in the unknown. Lacks had to frequently make trips to John Hopkins because of her constant discomforts and pains, and she had no clue what was causing it.
What is HeLa? Who is Henrietta Lacks? And how did this single woman change the entire perspective of the medical field? These questions will be answered in this following book report. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is about Henrietta, who was born a poor tobacco farmer, whose cells were taken without her consent, but she quickly became one of the most important tools for the medical field, yet her name remained virtually unknown.
The primary ethical issue is that doctors took Henrietta Lacks’ cells without permission. Doctor Gey forgot the patient and focused his attention on the research. Doctor Gey’s self- interest and quest for recognition allowed him to cross ethical boundaries. He took advantage of Henrietta Lacks when she was sick, vulnerable and in need of medical attention therefore, one must question his moral judgment.
Pathos is used as an appeal to emotion, often to gain an audience’s investment for a specific purpose. Animal shelter advertisements, car commercials, and even magazines use this method to attract an audience and pull them in by their heartstrings. Rebecca Skloot’s contemporary biography The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is no different, utilizing this method to maintain the audience’s attention and emotional investment in the story.
The Showing of the HeLa Cells and the People Connected to Them By: Spencer Carroll Period: 3 Rebecca Skloot wrote The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks she used a method of writing called “show, don’t tell” this is a technique often employed in various kinds of texts to enable the reader to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author's description. The goal is to allow readers to interpret significant details in the text. Skloot describes the different characters with memories from not only the perspective of the character but of those around them as well. There were three main characters in the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Doctors, one side of the coin they are viewed as the ones that can cure the sick with their knowledge, the ones that are supposed to help them get better. The other side they are feared and are avoided at all cost by some. Doctors have this bad reputation about them because sometimes they don’t even tell their patients what is wrong with them. Or the patients themselves don’t even question the doctors because they went to school and have a prestigious piece of paper. In “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, she describes benevolent deception, which doctors had no trouble of doing in the mid-century, as the doctors keeping their patients in the dark.
Informed consent tends to spark major ethical controversy in the medical world. Many people believe that ALL humans deserve the right to know what research or tests are being done within their body, as well as the understanding of all the risks and costs that are associated with treatment. Other people believe that the right of informed consent should vary from person to person. This disputable topic is also explored throughout the novel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. As the story progresses, the reader soon discovers that without the lack of informed consent given to Henrietta Lacks, the discovery of the famous immortal HeLa cells would have never occurred.
Henrietta Lacks Honor Essay “The reason Henrietta's cells were so precious was because they allowed scientists to perform experiments that would have been impossible with a living human. They cut HeLa cells apart and exposed them to endless toxins, radiation, and infection. They bombarded them with drugs, hoping to find one that would kill malignant cells without destroying normal ones.” (58)”Throughout the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” there are many examples of how the HeLa cell of Henrietta Lacks provided cellular information and examples that helped mold many cellular discoveries and experiments.