Reflection on the book

These pages form the end of the book: we learn about the fate of Deborah’s sister, Elsie in the Hospital for the Negro Insane. In many ways, this chapter represents the concerns of this whole book: institutional failure, medical and other forms of institutional racism, stigmatization of mental illness, generational trauma and poverty. This chapter also reflects the methods of this book: archival research that requires digging through, keeping track of, and connecting the dots on tons and tons of seemingly disconnected material; difficult conversations with people who are either not forthcoming or constantly triggered; a profound commitment to revising one’s sense of what it is they think they are doing; and, above all, prioritizing the feelings of the subjects over the single-minded pursuit of a story (or a scientific discovery).

For your final reading journal response, you can write about this chapter as a representation of the whole book or you can choose to write about some other aspect of these final pages.


The immortal life of henrietta lacks