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English The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Essay

 respond to one of the writing prompts below Note: This assignment requires the use of at least two secondary sources—popular or scholarly— to help support your interpretation of the literary work. Choose sources carefully. Please refer to the non-fiction book read in Unit Four: Non-Fiction The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

1.Today the definition of “informed consent” remains murky. What did you learn about what it means or does not mean? What does it mean to you?

2. The book is filled with stories of people being used as research subjects, sometimes without their knowledge, sometimes with ill-informed consent. Do you think doctors and researchers of the past had a fundamentally different view of people than they do today?

3. Do you think Henrietta would have provided consent for her cells to be taken and used had she been asked? Explain your answer.

4. Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, but her cells are still alive today. Do you think the cells carry some essence of Henrietta?

5. In Chapter 15 “Too Young to Remember,” Deborah offers details about her sexual abuse. Does it affect how readers view Ethel and Galen? Does it affect how readers feel about Deborah? Does it affect how readers view her father, Day? Why?

6. Reflect upon Henrietta’s life: What challenges did her and her family face? What were their greatest strengths? What were their greatest weaknesses? Explain.

7.  What do you think is more important: A person’s personal rights over their own tissue, or contributing to science and research for the benefit of all humankind? Why? Explain.

8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a story of an African American woman and her family that touches on many big issues: bioethics, racism, poverty, science, faith, and more. What thread(s) stand out most. Why?

9.This is a story with many layers. Though it is not told chronologically, it is divided into three sections. Discuss the significance (literally and figuratively) of the titles given to each part: Life, Death, and Immortality.

10. Why do you think George Gey agreed to share the cells with any scientist who requested them? Explain your answer.

11. How do you think Zakariyya reacted to the completed book and to the way the family was depicted? How do you think Deborah would have reacted?

12. What life lesson or lessons can be learned from the book? Use specific details from the book to support your position. 


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