The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Quotations Analysis and Response
“Henrietta’s were different: they reproduced an entire generation very twenty-four hours, and they never stopped.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 3 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks When I read this sentence from the book I was really confused on how cells could reproduce so fast. What causes this to happen, and why does it happen. Also how could the cell reproduction never stop? From my understanding of cells at the moment I would assume that cells stop reproducing when you die, but when I read this I guess I was wrong. I am the type of person that needs a reasonable explanation about why something may happen, and I needed this when I read this part at the beginning of the story.
“Henrietta’s cells have now been living outside her body far longer than they ever lived inside it,” Defler said.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 4 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks How can your cells live longer outside of your body than they have when they were inside of your body? This just doesn’t add up to me. I know I don’t really know or remember a lot about cells, but I n=know that when I read this statement it doesn’t make any logical sense to me which confuses me.
“But I always have thought it was strange, if our mother cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can’t afford to see no doctors? Don’t make no sense.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 14 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I feel that it’s sad that Henrietta’s family still couldn’t afford much even though her cells have helped so much for medicine. It doesn’t seem fair. I feel that they should repay Henrietta in some way since they took her cells without asking and it turns out that her cells were very helpful for medicine. Since Henrietta did pass, they could’ve repaid Henrietta by helping her family out. All they had to do was give the family some money from all of the money they made off of her cells. It doesn’t seem fair to me. I know this is a time where racism was still existing and it didn’t seem right for black people to get fair treatment than whites, but when a black person helps out in the medicine field the way Henrietta did, some type of repayment should’ve occurred, either to her if she were still alive or to her family.
“David drove Henrietta nearly twenty miles to get there, not because they preferred it, but because it was the only major hospital for miles that treated black patients. This was the era of Jim Crow when black people showed up at white-only hospitals, the staff was likely to send them away, even if it meant they might die in the parking lot.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 17 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I know that during this period having to drive a long distance to get to a hospital to be treated because your black makes since. What doesn’t make since is that if a person was in need of severe treatment the white-only hospital should’ve taken that person in. Its’ between life and death and what I’m getting from this quote about the white- only hospitals it’s telling me that the staff would rather let someone die, because of their race instead of treating them. That is just not right. I understand that this was the era of Jim Crow laws but when it’s between life and death, no matter what race you are life should always come first.
“Like many doctors of his era, TeLinde often used patients from the public wards for research, usually without their knowledge. Many scientist believed that since patients were treated for free in public wards, it was fair to use them as research subjects as a form of payment.”
Rebecca Skloot, p.35 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks When I read this quote I knew this was unfair. I see how the scientists are thinking that if they take a person’s cells it could be considered as payment, but feel that the patient should know about it. This isn’t fair that scientists are taking cells from people and the people don’t even know it’s happening. The scientist should’ve said something like, “If you let me take your cells this can be considered as a payment.” This just seems better then taken someone’s cells and doing research on them without the person’s knowledge.
“Henrietta’s cousin always said a bit of Henrietta died the day they sent Elsie away, that losing her was worse than anything else that happened to her.”
Rebecca Skloot, p.52 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I feel like I can relate this quote. I haven’t experienced this myself, but I would feel the same way Henrietta did. When a child is taken away from you it’s like your life has fallen apart. That is your child, and when you are told that you seem like you can’t take care of your child, it just tears you apart. I understand how Henrietta felt when I read this, because if it happened to m e I would feel the same way too.
“Each day Henrietta’s doctors increased her dose of radiation, hoping it would shrink the tumors and ease the pain until her death. Each day the skin on her abdomen burned blacker and blacker, and the pain grew worse.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 75 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Did the doctor’s notice that her abdomen get blacker as they increased her radiation? Di Henrietta tell her doctor that the pain got worse? This just confuses me because if the doctors or Henrietta notice d that the radiation increase wasn’t working why would they still continue to increase it?
“I’ll never forget it,” Aurelian said. “George told me he leaned over Henrietta’s bed and said, ‘Your cells will make you immortal.’ He told Henrietta her cells would help save the lives of countless people, and she smiled. She told him she was glad get pain would come to some good for someone.”
Rebecca Skloot, p.77 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I can relate to this, because if someone told this to me I would react in the same way. I would smile, and feel happy knowing that I can help someone else. It’s not always about yourself. Knowing that I got to help someone just puts a big smile on my face, just like it did to Henrietta.
“Now I don’t know for sure if a spirit got Henrietta or if a doctor did it,” Cootie said, “but I do know that her cancer wasn’t no regular cancer, cause regular cancer don’t keep growing after a person die.”
Rebecca Skloot, p.95 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks When I read this I agreed with what Cootie said. Henrietta’s cancer couldn’t have been normal. It doesn’t make since that it would keep growing even after she did. Henrietta’s cancer wasn’t normal. More research should’ve been done to explain why her cancer kept growing, because I was confused on how and why her cancer kept growing after she died.
“Black scientists and technicians, many of them women, used cells form a black woman to help save the lives of millions of Americans, most of them white.”
Rebecca Skloot, p.112 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks When I read this it kind of made me happy knowing that a lot of black woman have saved many lives because of their cells. But it also makes me feel bad, because black women back then were still not treated right. Their cells have saved many people lives that were mostly right and they still didn’t get the respect that they deserved. It just doesn’t seem right tom me.
“As far as the children knew, their mother was there one day, gone the next. She never came back, and they got Ethel in her place.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 128 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks When I read this I felt so bad for Henrietta’s children. Nobody told them what happened to their mother which is something that should’ve been explained to them. It isn’t right that they just had to think that one day she was here and the next she wasn’t not knowing what really happened e to their mother.
“But to three doctors who refused to help with Southam’s research, injecting cancer cells into a person without consent was a clear violation of basic human rights and the Nuremberg Code.”
Rebecca Skloot, p.153 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I agreed that the doctors injecting cancer cells into a person without their consent is horrible on so many different levels. I don’t know what the Nuremberg Code is, but I do know that this is a major violation of human rights. You have injected a cancer cells into someone without their consent which could possibly cause the person to die, and the person didn’t even know that the doctor was the main reason of the person’s death. That is just so wrong on so many different levels.
“Can you tell me what my mama’s cells really did?” he whispered. “I know they did something important but nobody tells us nothing,”
Rebecca Skloot, p.185 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Why didn’t anyone ever explain to Henrietta’s family about what their mother’s cells have done? Their mother’s cells have made history and her family had mo idea why. That isn’t right. Someone could’ve explained to the family why Henrietta’s cells were so important.
“If our mother so important to science, why can’t we get health insurance?”
Rebecca Skloot, p.193 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Why couldn’t her family have gotten health insurance? Once again the scientist could have repaid Henrietta’s family in anyway including giving her family health insurance. This isn’t fair to either Henrietta or her family that they get nothing in return.
“I keep with me all I know about you deep in my soul, because I am a part of you, and you are me.”
Rebecca Skloot, p.252 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks When I read this I really thought about me. I felt that this is something I would say or think. I think on a pretty deep level about things, and I fell that I would say something like this. I’m pretty sure I’ve actually even thought about this in my head. I know and feel that someone very important to me will always be deep in my soul, because they are a part of me and I am a part of them
“Like I’m always telling my brothers, if you gonna go into history, you can’t do it with hate attitude. You got to remember, times was different.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 316 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks This quote is so true. If you go into history, you can’t have a hateful attitude. Times were different back then and times are still different now. Knowing that you or someone you care about is in history should make your attitude a little happier. I can’t keep a hateful attitude about it when you know that you are in history for something so important.
“Like the bible said,” Gary whispered, “man brought nothing into this world and he’ll carry nothing out. Sometime we care about stuff too much. We worry when there’s nothing to worry about.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 330 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks When I read what Gary said it hit me. This quote is so true. We come into the world with nothing and we’ll leave with nothing. Because this is how life is we shouldn’t care about things so much. Some things are worth caring for in order to live your life to the fullest, but we can’t worry about the small things when, in reality when it’s time for us to pass away it won’t matter anymore. I feel that as a society we always care more about the little picture that we do the big picture. When you focus on the small details about life, it can stress you out and cause you to worry. We can’t think this way. We have to think about the big picture which will cause us to worry less. When you think about the things that may happen in life there is not much to worry about. All have to do is try to live the best way you can, because when your time is up it’s up. You will leave the world how you entered, which is with nothing. When we worry about the little things it’s like wasting time. So time you could’ve had to do a fun activity was probably wasted on some small thing that you thought was so important that you have to worry about in an extreme way. Yes m there are things to worry about, but the way and how much people worry about things, makes you realize that what you were worrying about wasn’t even worth worrying about.
In that moment, reading those passages, I understood completely how some of the Lackses could believe, without doubt, that Henrietta had been chosen by the Lord to become an immortal being. If you believe the Bible is the literal truth, the immortality of Henrietta’s cells make perfect sense. Of course they were growing and surviving decades after her death, of course they floated through the air, and of course they’d led to cures for diseases and been launched into space. Angels are like that. The Bible tells us so.”
Rebecca Skloot, p.339 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I haven’t read the bible myself, but what I have heard about it I do believe that it is telling us the truth, and how life will turn out as new generations are growing. If I took the time to read the bible and think on events that have happened in history, I am pretty sure I will believe that the bible is telling the truth about what is going to happen. With this quote it connected what happened to Henrietta to the bible. Reading how it tells you that the events that happened to Henrietta’s cells were talked about in the bible, makes me believe even more that the bible has told us what is going to happen in life. When I read this quote It really made me think about the bible and how connects to everyone’s lives. Henrietta was chosen to have some big life changing experience happen to her, and it just so happened that when she died it was found out that her cells were immortal. Her cells did everything the bible said it would. Henrietta was put on this earth to make life changing history. And it might be because she was an angel sent to earth to help humans by making a life changing discovery of immortal cells.
“But I tell you one thing, I don’t want to be immortal if it mean living forever, cause then everybody else just die and get old in front of you while you stay the same, and that’s just sad.”
Rebecca Skloot, p. 355 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I feel that I can relate to this quote, because this is something I have thought about when I think about immortality. Yeah it may seem cool to be immortal and live forever, n=but when you think about you’ll just be there at the same age, while everyone else is growing old and dying. That seems depressing and boring, because you see your friends and family grow old and die. And if you decide to make new friends and family with another generation of people, then you’ll still see the same thing happen again where they grow old and die. Life just doesn’t seem as fun when you know that you can live forever while everyone else is dying right before your eyes. Life is the type of thing where you only have one chance to live life to its fullest. Once you live your life he best way possible your time will be over, and you’ll pass away. You can think that immortality is giving you another chance to live life, but it’s not because it’s not like you can go back in time and relive your life, Instead you are stuck at one age living through many generations and you know that it won’t be over, causing life to become plain and boring.