The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Logo Analysis

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Victimized by the exploitation of white scientists, Henrietta Lacks’ cancerous cells were taken without her consent as she sat in John Hopkins Hospital, the very place that would mark her death. These cells would eventually revolutionize the field of medicine and save millions of lives, but they also killed Henrietta, leaving her family behind in poverty and absolute turmoil. Throughout The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot most effectively appeals to her readers through the use of pathos, which causes them to become emotionally invested in the story behind Henrietta Lacks, the woman who changed the world of medicine without knowledge of doing so, whereas ethos and logos grant her credibility and defend her argument with reliable …show more content…
The countless facts, statistics, and explanations Skloot provides through logos make it easier for the reader to understand. For example, Skloot clearly defines that immortal cells are, “a continuously dividing line of cells all descended from one original sample…that would constantly replenish…and never die” (30). This definition is important because immortal cells are what Dr. Gey was first able to successfully create with Henrietta’s cells, which sparked a new age of medicine and the hysteria over HeLa. As Skloot continuously uses background information to defend the Lacks’ unimaginable situation, she is able to prove that it is possible to incorporate reason and logic into such a personal story. Ethos is also important because Skloot’s reliability and trustworthiness allow her to appeal to not only the readers, but to the Lacks as well. Skloot spent, “a decadelong adventure through scientific laboratories, hospitals, and mental institutions...[to try] to make sense of the history of cell culture”, and the woman behind it (6). As a result, she is able to establish credibility through her several years of dedicated research. This credibility enabled the formation of a good relationship with the Lacks family, which provided more knowledge and personal accounts to her story. Overall, through the use of pathos, ethos, and logos, Skloot appeals to her readers and is able to successfully tell the story of Henrietta Lacks. Emotional ties with the Lacks implemented by pathos will allow Henrietta’s story to live on, and people will now question the ethics behind every scientific discovery. A young black woman ultimately changed the world of medicine without even knowing it and deserves to be acknowledged as more than just a tube of cells labeled

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