Essay on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Essay 3 The Persuasive Essay

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


In the text, the reader discovers that Henrietta signed a consent form that stated, “I

hearby give consent to the staff of the Johns Hopkins Hospital to perform any operative

procedures and under any anesthetic either local or general that they may deem necessary in the

proper surgical care and treatment of:________” (31). As was done with so many other

patients, while Henrietta was under anesthesia, the doctor removed a portion of her cervical

tumor without her knowing, and sent it to the lab.


Write a persuasive essay in which you answer the following: because Henrietta signed this

consent form, do you believe that TaLinde and Gey had the right to obtain a sample from her

cervix to conduct their research, or do you think that they abused the power and authority they

had as physicians/researchers by not providing Henrietta with informed consent? Also, was the

doctor’s/researcher’s treatment of Henrietta in the hospital and her family (after her death)

justified? Why or Why not?

Questions to consider:

How would the doctors have treated Henrietta differently if she had been

a wealthy, white man? Why do you think Henrietta did not question the doctors? In what ways

do the doctors objectify Henrietta?


*Essay should be 3-5 pages

* A thesis statement with a topic, an opinion, reasons, and specific language

*Introduction should begin with a compelling hook, present relevant background information,

and present both sides of the argument

*Essay must be persuasive and have a clear, convincing thesis statement that states your opinion

*You must make concessions to the other point of view to show that you have carefully

understood and considered their position.

* Essay must contain TEA paragraphs

* Body paragraphs that are well-focused and avoid repetition. Each body paragraph

should explore a different but related idea.

* Refutation of counterarguments. Indicate why claims that counter your own are incorrect.

* Quotes are properly introduced with page numbers properly cited.

* A conclusion that does more than just summarize the main idea of your essay. It should

reinforce the importance of the issue and discusses the implications of the issue on a broader

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