Important Message/Why is it Important
Throughout the book Rebecca Skloot shifts back and forth from Henrietta’s history to scientific research to her personal experience. In chapter ten, she gives readers a clear view of what she was seeing when she visited Clover. She describes how “dead” it appears and how things in the town are “suffering.” When she makes her way to Lackstown, she meets one of Henrietta’s Cousins named Cootie. She gets into his background, and the theme of pain and suffering is present again. Cootie says “she been gone so long, even her memory pretty much dead now. Everything about Henrietta dead except them cells.” It shows about the Lacks family that even though they face death and hardships on every side, they don’t give up. Henrietta still took care of everyone, and Cootie still built his house. When Cootie was talking, he had the radio on and a preacher was talking in the background. Cootie was saying that Henrietta’s cells were voodoo; they were either man-made or spirit-made. He talked about spirits that he’s seen and how they have protected him. Then, he relates it all back to the cells, saying that something was over them, because they weren’t any regular cells.
In chapter eleven, we see the human death of Henrietta. Henrietta’s cousin, Emmett visited Henrietta when he heard that she was in the hospital. The first thing that he noticed was the straps around her wrists and ankles. When Henrietta convulsed, Emmett described it as “she had been possessed by the devil of pain itself.” This goes back to the religiousness in the previous chapter. The last thing that the book has record of Henrietta saying is “Don’t you let anything bad happen to them children when I’m gone.” In a sense it seems as she would be watching through her cells and living on through her cells to make sure that her children are alright.