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Non-Fictional Prose Course

AyaSeaver's picture

Who's Immortal in this book?

     One of the main things that I noticed about Rebecca's Skloot's style and structure of the book is that she spends a lot of time focusing and addressing on her own interaction with the family, perhaps in an attempt to make the story more personal, active, and immediate or perhaps because she is really trying to give a family she feels has been exploited their 'due'. But lots of the time I completely lost sight not only of Henrietta's cells--or the cells that have grown from those that she donated--but of Henrietta herself.

TyL's picture

Course Notes 11/9

Tuesday 11/9/10 notes


Finish reading The Path To Paradise for Thursday

Read approx. 200 pages per class from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Demon-Haunted World: both are selected from on Google books

Robert Coles’ The Call to Stories is the last. We will read all of it.

maht91's picture

The definition of Immortality

 I was very touched by the book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks b Rebecca Skloot, and the details it included about the challenges and pains of the Lacks family. The whole question about the title of the book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and its accuracy describing the concept of immortality had captured my attention throughout the book. The different people presented in the book, including Henrietta’s family, had their own strong connection to the word immortality and the presence of Henrietta among them or in this material life.

FatCatRex's picture

Linking my family to the Lacks family

I’m still thinking about the ways in which it is either problematic or fruitful to consider us through the lens provided by our family members and descendents.

veritatemdilexi's picture

Hopkins Response to "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

 This is my first successful hyperlink, I hope.  This article was published in June 2010 as a response to the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", and details how Johns Hopkins now deals with tissue culture and provides some background on how physicians and medical researchers navigate patient confidentiality while still pursuing medical research. 


EVD's picture

The Immortal Life...

As I  continue to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, I'm amazed at how Skloot seems to come at this story from every possible angle (historical, medical, cultural) and from the perspective of her own journey, Henrietta's and Henrietta's family's. I think that simply the author's fascination with Henrietta and her cells is an interesting story on its is her journey to speak with Henrietta's family members...and even just the cells' medical narrative would make really interesting reading as well. Skloot even portrays Henrietta as a kind of heroine, adding another dimension to the book. I think that this book is an ideal combination of different types of literature.

tgarber's picture

Notes 11-16-2010

 Notes: 11/16/2010

Recap of Path to Paradise

-Limitations of the personal interview as a method for learning

-Individualistic view doesn’t allow interpretation of the larger implications of the work

-Tensions between individual and political

Ckosarek: web papers- images overpower the sustenance of the paper and incorporate different elements that are unrelated to the material

Owl's picture

The Truth Compromised

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.

veritatemdilexi's picture

Concerns Addressed-Or Everything About Life In a Book

 At the beginning of the second half of the semester I was concerned that we may not address some of the important topics that are included in the genre of nonfiction, after reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I think we should scrap our plans for the rest of the semester and discuss the issues that this book raises.  I am very interested in today's class discussion and what we will focus on.  Will it be medical ethics, religion, the disparity in medical coverage for rich and poor in this country, or the role that race plays in all of the above topics?  I can hardly wait for class...

pfischer's picture

Henrietta Lacks and the Question of Genre

While reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" I wondered if the book was a biography, a work of science journalism, or a historical work investigating structural and overt racism within the medical community. The relationship between Henrietta Lacks, the woman, and the HeLa cells, which were once part of Henrietta Lacks, serves as the emotional and scientific center of the book. The story starts with details about Henrietta Lacks, the woman. Skloot makes an explicit point to write about features of Henrietta's persona that simultaneously mark her as a relatable human subject, a woman we might know, and a specifically racialized, gendered subject in a midcentury Baltimore.

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