The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks | Study Guide

Rebecca Skloot

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Course Hero. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Study Guide." Course Hero. 11 Aug. 2017. Web. 20 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Immortal-Life-of-Henrietta-Lacks/>.

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Course Hero, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Study Guide," August 11, 2017, accessed July 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Immortal-Life-of-Henrietta-Lacks/.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks | Chapter Summaries

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Chapter Summary
Prologue: The Woman in the Photograph Rebecca Skloot has been fascinated by the story of Henrietta Lacks since she was 16 years old. When she takes a communit... Read More
Deborah's Voice Deborah Lacks says people have told about her mother's vital contribution to science; the medicines she takes are a dire... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 1 In 1951 Henrietta Lacks, a poor woman with a sixth-grade education, decides to go to the gynecology department at Johns ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 Henrietta Lacks, born Loretta Pleasant in Roanoke, Virginia, on August 1, 1920, is the ninth of 10 children. She has bee... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 Dr. Richard TeLinde, a cancer specialist, is the boss of Dr. Howard Jones, Henrietta's doctor at Hopkins. Dr. Jones, wor... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 George Gey and Mary Kubicek, his assistant, run the tissue culture research lab at Johns Hopkins. Gey develops a culture... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 5 When Henrietta comes home, she doesn't tell anyone she is being treated for cancer until she needs X-ray treatments ever... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 6 Returning to her own research story line, Skloot tries to find out more about Henrietta, calling Roland Pattillo, who ha... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 7 Skloot informs the reader that by the time of Henrietta's illness, researchers had already been searching for an immorta... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 8 When Henrietta goes to her doctors and tells them she thinks the cancer is spreading, they dismiss her, saying there is ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 9 Returning to her research narrative, Skloot goes to Turner Station to visit Sonny Lacks, but he never shows up to meet h... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 10 Skloot goes to Clover, Virginia, to speak with any remaining cousins in Henrietta's family, and she discovers everyone i... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 11 Henrietta's cousin Emmett Lacks, who last saw Henrietta when he took her to visit Elsie at Crownsville, hears Henrietta ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 12 Henrietta's body is put into the "colored" freezer, and George Gey wants samples from the body. At first Day won't sign ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 13 Research using the HeLa cells explodes after the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama begins producing the cells in large quant... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 14 George Gey has shared Henrietta's name with several people, but he wants to keep it out of the press. However, someone a... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 15 The family suffers after Henrietta dies. Sonny, Deborah, and Joe all contract tuberculosis. Lawrence goes into the army ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 16 Skloot goes back to her research story line. On Cootie's recommendation, she goes to see Cliff Lacks. Cootie says no one... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 17 Skloot informs readers that HeLa cells were used in ways both noble and ignoble. Chester Southam, a virologist, decided ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 18 Not all is well for cell culturing techniques, even though HeLa has made possible so many advances in research, includin... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 19 Deborah Lacks becomes pregnant by her boyfriend, Cheetah. She tries to ignore his violent behavior toward her. Deborah w... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 20 The HeLa cells already have been pegged as a contaminant, but no one yet knows how easily they can contaminate other hum... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 21 Returning to the research narrative, Sonny Lacks again agrees to meet with Skloot, and this time he shows up—albeit two ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 22 In 1970 George Gey becomes ill with pancreatic cancer and tries to start a cell line with his own cancer cells, but the ... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 23 By chance Bobbette Lacks learns the HeLa cells come from her mother-in-law, and she is furious. Lawrence tries to find o... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 24 Writer Michael Rogers goes to see Lawrence Lacks and interview the Lacks family for Rolling Stone. The Lackses end up as... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 25 Skloot notes that other people have fought to keep rights to their cells and tissues. One such person is John Moore, a l... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 26 Deborah gets remarried; her new husband, James Pullum, is a mechanic and part-time preacher. Henrietta's youngest son, Z... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 27 Skloot explains how researchers discovered that the HeLa cells live on when other cells die. The key to her cells becomi... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 28 Skloot describes the making of the BBC documentary on Henrietta and how Roland Pattillo contacted the Lacks family. Adam... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 29 Returning to her research story, Skloot tells the reader that after not hearing from Deborah for a year, she finally get... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 30 Skloot goes to meet Zakariyya, who is in an assisted living facility but is on probation for being aggressive with other... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 31 Skloot promises Deborah she will set up a foundation to give scholarships to the descendants of Henrietta Lacks, if the ... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 32 Skloot takes Zakariyya and Deborah Lacks to see Christoph Lengauer, the cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins who gave Debo... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 33 Skloot and Deborah go on a weeklong trip together to visit Crownsville Hospital, which had been the Hospital for the Neg... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 34 Deborah comes back minutes later to Skloot's room at the hotel to look through the medical records with her. She is mani... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 35 Deborah and Skloot go to the old home-house, where Deborah asks Skloot to take photos of her with the picture of Elsie a... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 36 Gary goes through Bible passages with Skloot to show her the scripture about eternal life. Gary believes Henrietta was c... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 37 Deborah goes to her doctor and learns her spike in blood sugar and blood pressure put her in danger of a stroke. Her doc... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 38 Skloot goes to Clover again and discovers the town has been razed. She gathers fragments from the ground to give to Debo... Read More
Afterword Skloot goes over the issues the Henrietta Lacks story continues to raise, including who retains rights to biological tis... Read More
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