The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks Literary Analysis

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is the story of a lower class, poor tobacco farmer, Henrietta Lacks who unknowingly has helped millions of people, after her death. Henrietta Lacks had discovered that a small “knot” in her stomach area, was actually cervical cancer, but the novel does not focus on her cancer, rather it focuses on her life, death, the issues her family faced with the medical field, and how her cells have saved the lives of millions of people. This novel is split into three individual sections, Life, Death, and Immortality, which all cover different aspects of Henrietta’s story. The first and second parts of this novel, Life and Death, are pretty similar to the novels and stories that we have read in class, especially Beloved. …show more content…
It mainly focuses on the medical process behind culturing Henrietta’s cancer cells, named HeLa cells, and how Henrietta and her family faced obscurity from the medical community. This is unique to me because it not only touches with medical ethics and but it also provides some scientific insight into how these cells function and how they can be used for good. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was an extremely fun and interesting book for me to read. The plot of the novel not only focuses on the life and struggles of Henrietta and her family, but it also brings to life the topic of medical ethics, which is a topic that I find extremely fun to read. The ethical question this novel brings to life, is on if it was just for Dr. Gey to extract and …show more content…
This particular question can be seen in various situations today, for example, the whole issue involving stem cells. In order to perform stem cell research, researchers have to extract them from human embryos. Although they have to be taken from humans who haven 't had a chance at life, stem cells have been know to help or cure many diseases that plague millions of people worldwide, so the idea of the “needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” is seen not only in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which takes place in the 1950’s, but it is also seen in modern medicine. Another ethical question that the novel brings to life, is the treatment of African-Americans and other minorities in regards to medical treatment and care. When Henrietta first goes to John Hopkins for the knot that she feels on her stomach, the doctor who saw her did an unprofessional diagnosis of her and put her through test for, a common African American disease at the time, syphilis. It was only after the treatment didn 't work, that the

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