The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Rebecca Skloot
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who was the director of "Negro Activities" for the Tuskegee Institute when the HeLa Distribution Center was developed?

2. Who was the press officer at the NFIP that wrote to George Gey in 1953 to say that he intended to write a more detailed article about Henrietta Lacks once her name was revealed in the press?

3. What was the first publication to name the woman behind the HeLa cells in 1953?

4. How much blood did Henrietta's cousin Emmett and his friends donate when they heard Henrietta was in need of transfusions at the hospital?

5. What was listed as the official cause of Henrietta Lacks's death?

Short Essay Questions

1. What illness was contracted within the Lacks family after Henrietta's death? How were they affected by this illness?

2. How does the author describe the actions of Ethel and Galen in the narrative? What relationship did Ethel and Galen have to the Lackses?

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

4. How did Henrietta meet David Lacks? How did their early relationship develop?

5. Why were HeLa cells useful in the study of virology and research into diseases? Was the malignant nature of the cells a factor?

6. Who established the first distribution center for HeLa cells? Where was it established?

7. How does the author describe Courtney Speed in the narrative? What business(es) did Ms. Speed run at the time the author first met her?

8. How did Lawrence Lacks deal with the death of his mother? What led Lawrence into the military?

9. How did Henrietta respond to the treatment she received at Johns Hopkins for cancer? Why do you think that Henrietta Lacks did not question any of the treatment she received?

10. Who is Roland Pattillo, and why did Rebecca Skloot contact him regarding the Lacks family? How did Pattillo respond to Rebecca's inquiries?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the use of HeLa cells in hybridization research. When did scientist first create animal-human hybrid cells? What was the purpose of this study?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the qualities of HeLa cells. Why were HeLa cells different than other cells that researchers had attempted culturing in the past? What made HeLa cells invaluable to scientific progress?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss Henrietta Lacks's diagnosis, treatment, and death. What type of cancer was Henrietta diagnosed with? What treatment was available for this type of cancer at the time? How would Henrietta's treatment have differed today?

(see the answer keys)

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