26 August 2013
The Unknown Woman
One of the main themes in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is justice. I feel this is so because Henrietta along with her family were not well-aware that Henrietta's cells were being taken from her without her consent to use in scientific research while she was only seeking help for her unknown illness. Alongside being unaware, she was never fully recognized for her unknown contributions to the scientific research that involved her cells. The fact that someone who has things taken from them and they are unaware of it is huge injustice to anyone.
'They're beautiful," she whispered, then went back to staring at the slide in silence. Eventually, without looking away from the cells, she said, "God, I never thought I'd see my mother under a microscope -- I never dreamed this day would ever come." (266) This quote highlights the feelings Deborah, Henrietta's youngest daughter, had when she finally started to learn about her mother after many years of hardships as stated in the novel. She is not only shows she is pleased and happy, she also shows she is relieved to know she is able to still seemingly connect with her mother in someway. In the novel Deborah often cries over not knowing anything about her mother's history at the hospital since her mother died when Deborah, herself turned four which made it harder for her to talk about her mother to just anyone. The quote also shows great emotion almost all at once because of all the years she never knew or understood about her mother's cell.
"There's a photo on my wall of a woman I've never met, its left corner torn and patched together with tape. She looks straight into the camera and smiles, hands on hips, dress suit neatly pressed, lips painted deep red. It's the late 1940s and she hasn't yet reached the age of thirty. Her light brown skin is smooth, her eyes still young and playful, oblivious to the tumor growing...
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