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Henrietta Lacks Quotes

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The Three Phases of Henrietta in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks In the novel The Immoral Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, the author tells the miraculous story of one woman’s amazing contribution to science. Henrietta Lacks unknowingly provides scientists with a biopsy capable of reproducing cells at a tremendusly fast pace. The story of Henrietta Lacks demonstrates how an individual’s rights can be effortlessly breached when it involves medical science and research. Although her cells have contributed to science in many miraculous ways, there is little known about the woman whose body they derived from. Skloot is a very gifted author whose essential writing technique divides the story into three parts so that she, Henrietta…show more content…
The author uses this title or section to describe the woman behind the cells she’s so famous for, to bring life to her. This section of the book brings in the human aspect of Henrietta so that the reader will first see her as a person before acknowledging her as HeLa. This section helps aid the reader with an emotional attachment to her as a person. Henrietta Lacks was born on August 1, 1920. Her birth name was Loretta Pleasant but "No one knows how she became Henrietta" (Skloot18). This quote stands out as it becomes clear that little is known about a woman who contributed so much. This section of the book draws the reader in and sheds light on Henrietta’s life. Her life is far from easy, even before she becomes sick. She is a strong black woman who becomes a mother at the tender age of 14. She later moves to Turner Station with her unfaithful husband and faces poverty and segregation throughout her entire life. By giving this section its own place in the book and putting it first, enlightens the reader on who she…show more content…
This section is used to demonstrate to the reader the enormous effects of her death to both her family and science. Immediately following Henrietta's death, Dr. Gey is anxious to take as many samples from her body as possible. However, he must first obtain permission from her husband for an autopsy. Henrietta's husband, Day, is tricked into giving permission. He is told the autopsy will provide test results that may help his children in the future. During the autopsy, Gey's assistant Mary Kubicek takes notice to Henrietta's painted toenails and realizes that HeLa cells belong to an actual person. She says, "they came from a live woman" (Skloot 91). A few days after the autopsy, Henrietta's body is sent from Baltimore to Clover. Henrietta is buried a few days later in an unmarked grave alongside her mother in Lacks Town. Her death is swift and little mourning is conducted by the family. By placing this section second, the reader gains insight into Henrietta's family. Her children are treated poorly and her husband is absent most of the time following her death. This section is important in understanding and gaining insight into the people closest to
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