Study Guide

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Chapter 30

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Chapter 30

Zakariyya (2000)

  • Despite their falling out (or because of it), Deborah takes Skloot to meet her brother Zakariyya.
  • Skloot's worried, because she knows Zakariyya's reputation for violence and his hatred of white people talking about his mother.
  • When they get to Zakariyya's house, Deborah leaves them alone to talk. Skloot's intimidated, to say the least. He wants to read the article that Skloot had already written about their mother.
  • He tells Skloot that he believes his birth was a miracle, considering his mother's medical condition, filled with cancer.
  • It's clear that Zakariyya's full of anger towards the people who took his mother's cells and their blood without explaining things to the family.
  • He explains to Skloot that they feel exploited, especially since so many people made money off HeLa and neither he nor Deborah can get medical care because they can't afford it.
  • Inside his apartment, Skloot sees pictures of Elsie and Henrietta.
  • Zakariyya tells Skloot that he's mean because of the HeLa cells. He was growing inside Henrietta along with the cancer cells, and he had to fight them off.
  • Deborah says it was because of Ethel's abuse.
  • Zakariyya goes off into a rage about Ethel and Day. Zakariyya relents and says that he's happy that HeLa is saving people, but that he'd rather have Henrietta alive.
  • Deborah gives Zakariyya the picture of Henrietta's chromosomes from Lengauer. Skloot tells him that Lengauer invited them to the lab to see the cells. He seems happy about it.

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