The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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What does the quote by Elie Wiesel mean in reference to this book?  We must not see any person as an abstraction.  Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own...

What does the quote by Elie Wiesel mean in reference to this book?  We must not see any person as an abstraction.  Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anquish, and with some measure of human triumph.

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Elie Wiesel says that we must see humans not as an abstraction because, having lived through the Holocaust, he learned what it means to treat people as something other than human. It lets others manipulate, exploit, injure, and even kill them. When you see someone as less human or real than yourself, it's easier to do things that take advantage of that person. In the case of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Lacks herself is the person being exploited first by her doctors and later by the larger medical community.

Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman who was treated for cervical cancer. Without asking her—and without telling her what they were doing—the doctors used her tissue to create a line of cells called HeLa cells. They're used in labs to this day. Until Rebecca Skloot wrote The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and spoke to Lacks's family, they didn't understand the significance of their relative's cells that are still being used to aid scientific progress in labs all over...

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