The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Short Essay - Answer Key

Rebecca Skloot
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1. Describe the genre and narrative style of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. From whose perspective is the narrative related?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a work of nonfiction. Author Rebecca Skloot relates her first-person narrative as she describes her process of tracking down the Lacks family and researching the life of Henrietta Lacks. The narrative style is at times scientific in detailing HeLa cells and their role in scientific progress, but remains at a level where laymen and non-scientists can understand the concepts.

2. How is Henrietta Lacks's early childhood described in the book? When and where was she born? Where did she grow up?

Henrietta Lacks was born on August 1, 1920, in Roanoke, Virginia. Her birth name was Loretta Pleasant. Henrietta lived with her parents and eight other siblings. Her mother died giving birth to a tenth child. After her mother died, her father took the children and spread them out among relatives in Clover.

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