Analysis Of The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

Improved Essays
Immortality has long been the subject of both science fiction, and science journals, and while it may seem unbelievable to some, the harvested cells of one woman never died. This launched a revolution that shifted the course of medical history and lead to innumerable discoveries that have in some way affected nearly every human being on the planet. In her best-selling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot tells the story of a kind and caring black women in the 1950’s who never ever knew her cells were being taken for research, and while Skloot certainly establishes both ethos and logos, her most effective writing and argumentation comes through her use of pathos.
While writing her novel, Skloot understands the importance
…show more content…
The author tells a story that deals largely with the concepts of biology, and through her presentation of information, the story becomes accessible to those who have no previous knowledge of the discipline. When the topic of cell cultivating is discussed in the book, Skloot gives a detailed history of how this practice first began and states, “It all started on January 17, 1912, when Alexis Carrel...grew his ‘immortal chicken heart’ ”(58). By providing the background history regarding topics discussed in the novel, the reader is more likely to become interested in the content. Skloot continues this presentation of logos throughout the novel and builds an intimate story upon the facts and research she …show more content…
Unlike many doctors who treated Lacks, the author of this novel humanizes and presents her as the meaningful person that she was. Skloot noted a family member saying. “She 's the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother is so important to science, why can 't we get health insurance” (168). The family is dumbfounded at their current situation and can not understand how they have not benefited from their mother’s immense contribution. By including these real and heartfelt stories, Skloot pulls at the heartstrings the readers and forces them to actually care about the individual involved in the story. In this we find the overwhelming power of pathological appeals and their effect on the reader. Although Skloot’s implementation of both ethos and logos is effective and thorough, without her implementation of appeals to pathos, the book would not be nearly as enticing and enjoyable to the mainstream audience. Furthermore, people want to read something that is meaningful and makes them feel something, a characteristic that the reading of science journals or a textbook rarely

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    When Skloot has to earn the trust of the Lacks’s family, it shows how badly the scientific community affected them, not only just their mother. Another pivotal point within the book, was when the doctor did not tell Henrietta about the tissue samples. Why was Henrietta not told about the samples? Then after Henrietta dies, her children are cared for by Galen and Ethel who abuse them, and this shows the children in a hopeless situation that they cannot control that will indefinitely determine how the rest of their lives play out. The book also represents the privilege used by scientists over the Lack’s family, their education and possibly race played a huge role in how the Lacks family was treated.…

    • 921 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Polio Synthesis Essay

    • 1323 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Although Henrietta Lacks herself was not able to reap the benefits of her contribution to science, her family got to understand her a little more. The family bonded over the immortal cells of their mother through the spiritual sense of her always being there with him. Without the findings of HeLa, the world would not have had as many lives saved. Zakariyya never met his mother, but has had grudges toward the doctors that protected his mother for as long as he could remember and fathom what happened. He felt as though the doctors took advantage of his mom.…

    • 1323 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    My Sisters Keeper Essay

    • 432 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Their immensley strong bond is something that I can only dream of having. Since the only reason Anna is alive is to serve as a donor for Kate, Anna finds it difficult to discover her true identity. She mentions that if your reason for existing disappears, so will you. This showed me how Anna was quite fearful of being abandoned, as she thinks that her parents will no longer want or need her. The quote, “They don’t really pay attention to me, except when they need my blood or something.…

    • 432 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Dr. Gey cultured her cells and they became fast growing and healthy. These cells would start new scientific advances that not many people had even heard of to that day. This was Henrietta’s story and how she became “immortal” from her cells. 1. Problems begin Henrietta was a mother of five and she was twenty-nine when she had been telling her cousin that it felt like there was a knot on her womb.…

    • 1268 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    There’s no doubt that the cells that were discovered in Henrietta were extraordinary and have been a major medical discovery, however we cannot ignore the lack of doctor’s getting consent for the discovery which ultimately became and was a haunting issue of the Lack’s family in knowing secrets and experimentation of Henrietta. In conclusion, I hope I gave vast insight of the legacy of Henrietta Lacks and her significance to why she is dubbed as the most important female in medicine and science. References Five Reasons Henrietta Lacks is the Most Important Woman in Medical History. (2010, February 05). Retrieved November 16, 2017, from https://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-01/five-reasons-henrietta-lacks-most-important-woman-medical-history Zielinski, S. (2010, January 22).…

    • 1103 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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…

    • 768 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    With her new discovery, Henrietta went back and convinced the gynecologist that she had something more than an STD. What the doctor discovered, was a cancerous tumor, but what they all didn’t realize was that Henrietta had the key to immortal life living within her. Henrietta’s cells became known in the science world as “HeLa” and are helping researchers around the world learn about human cells and how to develop treatments for various genetic, chronic and difficult diseases. Rebecca Skloot became interested after hearing about these immortal cells as a student.. Her teacher mentioned how cell reproductions were, “…beautiful…like a perfectly choreographed dance.” (Skloot, 2010).…

    • 2232 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This stubbornness and refusal to be happy flies in the face of social expectation. This leaves both Henry and Bridget, and Canon Crosbie bitterly disappointed and dumbfounded as to what action to take. In contrast with this, the relationship between Juno and Paulie Bleeker survives the dangerous circumstances and problems of immaturity faced. When Juno confronts him about the pregnancy he offers no support, and is totally bamboozled. This profoundly ruptures their relationship but over time due to Juno’s persistence to make it work, their love for each other shines through.…

    • 904 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The importance of Materialism over family of Mrs. Dickinson and Hester “To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much, impossible” – Marie Von Ebner – Eschenbach. The short story “Tears Idle Tears” written by Elizabeth Bowen, and “The Rocking – Horse Winner”, written by D.H Lawrence, possess main characters with similar characteristics. Both stories are written about a mother who does not show the usual emotions that a mother should towards her son. Mrs. Dickinson and Hester live what would seem to an outsider as successful lives but neither are satisfied. Their materialism causes them to neglect their families.…

    • 931 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This dialogue really shows the loss of all hope for the woman. The idea that her husband was incapable of identifying the terms of the loss that was clearly overpowering the grave of his wife was in my opinion pitiful to see the conflicting positions of this couple. A mother gives a child life, takes great care of it and for her husband not to see the enduring problem, was difficult to read. She has become sorrowful, but her husband remains normal as though burying a child was easy. In reality, the emotion of both characters was ultimately why each one expressed the tragedy of their child’s death in different…

    • 1275 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays