Analysis of The Inmortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Essay

Analysis of The Inmortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Essay

Length: 765 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The novel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is divided into 3 sections: life, which tells the reader about Henrietta’s life and the birth of HeLa; death, which consists of times after Henrietta’s death, and lastly; immortality, which discusses how Henrietta’s cells have become immortal. Overall, the book is based on Henrietta and the lives of her children and how they cope with the way medical science has treated their mother. Though the book is not written in chronological order, Skloot does a good job of organizing her information according to its section.
The first section, life, tells the reader about the beginning of HeLa. Henrietta’s symptoms began shortly after the birth of her fourth child, Deborah. Henrietta felt a knot inside her, but after only a week, Henrietta was pregnant with Joe, her fifth and final child. Four and half months after having Joe she started bleeding but it was not her time of the month. She asked her husband, Day, to take her to the hospital. At Johns Hopkins gynecology clinic, the doctor took a small sample of her lump to send to the pathology lab and sent her home. A few days later, she got her results saying the lump was “Epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix, stage 1” (Skloot 27). While admitted in the hospital, she received radium treatment, and while unconscious, Dr. Lawrence Wharton Jr., “shaved two dime-sized pieces of tissue from Henrietta’s cervix: one from her tumor, and one from the healthy cervical tissue nearby” and placed the samples in a glass dish (Skloot 33). Her cells were given to George Gey’s lab assistant, Mary Kubicek, who was handling most of the tissue samples at Hopkins. So far, all of the samples Mary Kubicek tried to grow had died. She was handed Henriet...


... middle of paper ...


... when “HPV inserted its DNA into the long arm of her eleventh chromosome and essentially turned off her P53 tumor suppressor gene” (Skloot 213). This allows the cancer cells to produce monstrously virulent cells, making them hard to kill.
After sixty years HeLa cells are still one of the most popular cells in the world. They were not voluntarily taken, but they have been one of the biggest contributions to society. Without them many viruses would never have had a cure and hundreds of people would have died. However, because Henrietta lived her cells were taken from her. Without her life and death, her cells would never have become immortal like they are today. Her cells continue to help and cure people from diseases and viruses other cells would not be able to help.



Works Cited

Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Crown, 2011. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Critical Analysis of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

- The book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, was a nonfiction story about the life of Henrietta Lacks, who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Henrietta did not know that her doctor took a sample of her cancer cells a few months before she died. “Henrietta cells that called HeLa were the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory” (Skloot 22). In fact, the cells from her cervix are the most important advances in medical research. Rebecca was interested to write this story because she was anxious with the story of HeLa cells....   [tags: nonfiction story analysis]

Strong Essays
1039 words (3 pages)

Living in a Rural Area: Relating With Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

- There are advantages and disadvantages to living in both urban and rural settings. I myself have spent about half of my life in both. The first 17 years of my life were spent in an area so desolate, that to this day there is no cell phone service there. Since I escaped, I went on to live in Portland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Maui and Chicago. The one difference I see the most, is that I miss the desolate place more as I get older. That might just be me missing my childhood though. In Rebecca Skloot’s book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” Henrietta spent her childhood in Clover, VA....   [tags: literary analysis, rebecca skloot]

Strong Essays
1119 words (3.2 pages)

Analysis of Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Essay examples

- In February 2010, author and journalist Rebecca Skloot published a book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," which included the stories surrounding the HeLa cell line as well as research into Henrietta Lacks' life. In 1951 a poor young black women, Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer and at the time was treated in the “colored ward” or segregated division of Johns Hopkins Hospital. The procedure required samples of her cervix to be removed. Henrietta Lacks, the person who was the source of these cells was unaware of their removal....   [tags: Rebecca Skloot, cervical cancer, ethics]

Strong Essays
1282 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

- ... Lacks visits Johns Hopkins Hospital often to receive treatment. Each time she returns she complains of worsening pain from her cancer, she believes it is spreading. Doctors send her home each time saying that there is nothing wrong with her. Lacks trusts her doctor’s judgement because she does not see a reason not to and it is controversial for black patients to question white doctors during this time. Howard Jones, Lacks’ gynecologist, claims that Lacks is treated the same as any white patient is....   [tags: Henrietta Lacks, HeLa, Rebecca Skloot]

Strong Essays
1365 words (3.9 pages)

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot Essays

- In Rebecca Skloot’s novel The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the author investigates the origin of a line of “immortal cells” used for research on various diseases. The cells were immortal in the sense that they continued to multiply long after the person from whom they came passed away. This quality made them priceless in the field of medical research. The cells were called HeLa, after the person from whom the cells were initially harvested-Henrietta Lacks. As Rebecca learns more about Henrietta and her family, certain injustices in the field of public health are made apparent....   [tags: HeLa, Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot]

Strong Essays
1086 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

- ... A little bit later, Henrietta died on October 4, 1951. Key Idea 2 / The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Part 2 After Gey heard Henrietta had died, he wanted cell samples from other organs. But there was a problem, because she had died, Gey must have permission from David to take cells from her. David turned him down at first, but when they told him it would help his children, he agreed. Mary Kubicek, while doing the autopsy, finally realized that the HeLa cells were from an actual human being....   [tags: HeLa, Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot]

Strong Essays
1675 words (4.8 pages)

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Essay

- In this paper, I will analyze Rebecca Skloot’s book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, concentrating on Henrietta Lacks’ life, as well as ethical controversies and sociological impact surrounding the HeLa cells. First, I will discuss the author’s main arguments and the type of evidence used throughout the paper. Then, I will summarize the life of Henrietta Lacks focusing on her diagnosis and treatment up to her death. After, I will describe the ethical debates that the author presented and how they relate to Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cells....   [tags: HeLa, Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, Cancer]

Strong Essays
2151 words (6.1 pages)

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot Essay

- ... It’s not fair. She’s the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother so important to science, why can’t we get health insurance?” (pg.168). Someone who disagrees with this standpoint may argue that scientists had been trying for years to develop the perfect culture medium and had a much more hands on experience with the cells (pg.35), therefore, they should be receiving the earnings from any outcomes the HeLa cells may produce. While the scientists were in fact the brains behind the scientific advances, the family should be acknowledged on behalf of Henrietta Lacks....   [tags: HeLa, Henrietta Lacks, Johns Hopkins Hospital]

Strong Essays
1406 words (4 pages)

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Essay

- ... Those at stake during this particular issue are the patients in the public wards, including Henrietta, the doctors Richard TeLinde, George Gey, and Howard Jones, the Lacks family, and many other families who do not know their loved ones are being used for science. Although laws were not set in place at the time, the doctors should have been presenting patients with consent forms and fully disclosing all the information pertaining to how they would be using each person for research studies. Not only did Henrietta’s cells get tested in one lab without consent, but they were shared amongst the colleagues of Dr....   [tags: Henrietta Lacks, HeLa, George Otto Gey]

Strong Essays
2327 words (6.6 pages)

Cancer Cells Made Henrietta Lacks Immortal Essay

- Henrietta Lacks: an unknown name up until recent years. A name that had been known to the world only as HeLa; The first two letters of a name that belonged to a poor African American tobacco farmer that unknowingly changed science and life as we know it today. Her life has finally been portrayed in a very intimate story that not only does her life some justice but also transcendentally brings to mind the philosophical issues concerning medical ethics both of the past, present, and the future. In a world of constantly evolving medical advancement, science is a pivotal force that propels ideas forward....   [tags: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks]

Strong Essays
1176 words (3.4 pages)