The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Questions and Answers
by Rebecca Skloot

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How is Rebecca Skloot a hero in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks?

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If heroism is defined as pursuing a noble end, then Rebecca Skloot is heroic in that she is giving a neglected historical figure her proper due after decades of neglect from society. Because Henrietta Lacks was a black woman in a racist society which marginalized people like her, history neglected her as a person despite the great breakthroughs which came from harvesting her cells.

The medical community viewed her for the longest time as a supplier of cells and an abstract rather than as a human being. The fact that the cells were taken from her without her giving permission is the ultimate proof of that. Even Lacks's own family were never informed of what medical breakthroughs came about due to her cells.

So in this way, Skloot is heroic, allowing such an important person in the...

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