The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the main conflict in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot?  

Expert Answers info

Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write3,996 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

The main conflict in Rebecca Skloot’s nonfiction The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks could be said to be that between the medical community that profited handsomely from Henrietta’s cells following her death and Henrietta’s family and heirs, who had been kept in the dark regarding their loved one’s cells and who received nothing from the money made exploiting those cells. That conflict, while extremely important and unfortunate, is not necessarily the main conflict, however. The main conflict is between the medical community exploiting Henrietta Lacks’s cells and the public at large. The highly unethical practice of exploiting those cells without the consent or even knowledge of Lacks’s family is surpassed by the cavalier way medical researchers systematically exploited many other patients. In Chapter 17 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks , titled “Illegal, Immoral and Deplorable,” Skloot describes the actions of Chester Southam, “a well-respected cancer researcher...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 706 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write4,272 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litgeek2015 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write379 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial