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The Truth Compromised

Owl's picture

Seeing as I was not sure what genre or sub-genre The Immortal Life of Henrietta fell under. I found that it is considered to be investigative journalism. What I found most interesting about this sub-genre, according to the wikipedia definition, was that it is a: "form of journalism in which deeply investigate a single topic of interest, often involving crime, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing."

Reading The Immortal Life..., you feel inclined to blame the scientist in part for their "wrongdoing" with Henriett's cells.

However, in an interview with tvo.org (www.youtube.com/watch), Skloot specifically states that the book was not meant to make scientists look like the bad guys. She states that "the 50's was a different time...the concept of informed consent didn't really even exist yet...it was standard procedure to take cells without someone's knowledge."

That being said, I think that it's Skloot's own "...attempt to solve a problem..." and "...find her own way toward a meaning..." (from ckosarek) behind Henrietta's cells, that develops in the genre of investigative journalism. I think the angle that the book is written from, and therefore the genre itself,  automatically sets up the reader to see truth in the consequences that came as a result of the use of Lack's cells and makes it so that the doctors are the one's that instigated this truth.

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