Assignment 1: narrative based on non-fiction
In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the author reveals that Henrietta did not wish to donate her cells for research and that the family was not exactly pleased with the manner in which her body was used for science. Choose one of the following people from the text and write a 400 word minimum narrative from his or her point of view. You should include some of the facts and information from the text, but mostly this will be a fictionalized account of what happened based on your imagination.
- Deborah Lacks (Henrietta’s daughter)
- David Lacks (Henrietta’s husband)
If you need help getting started, consider the following ideas as food for thought:
1) What time period do you wish to set your story (when Henrietta was living or after her death?)
2) Perhaps you’d like to write from Deborah’s perspective as a teenager living with an ailing mother.
3) Consider writing from David’s perspective as he realizes his wife is dying or when he finds out that science has taken her cells without his knowledge or approval.
There are many more ways to approach this assignment; feel free to be creative based on the text. Since this is a narrative, your paper will be assessed on descriptive elements such as dialogue, interesting adjectives, vivid verbs, figurative language, etc. You’ll want to consider the elements of a narrative (setting, characterization, plot, style).