The book: “The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks” is an interesting story about a woman with very special cells. Her cells reproduced even after she died, which made them very important to medical science. Making a movie about Henrietta sounds like a great idea! However, the director wants someone else than the author to tell the story. She has a good point, the story could be more interesting if told by someone else, but who?
Obviously, we cannot use Henrietta Lacks herself. She is dead. All it would do is complicate the story in an unnecessary way. Although, maybe someone could write an extra beginning of the story. Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, travels back in time, fetches her mother and shows her how important she is to the human race and why she technically is not dead. She could tell the whole story.
That would create emotion, because of the reunion between Deborah and her mother and a little dash of Sci-Fi, hence the time machine. I think that would make a great movie!
In the extract from the book, Ship Breaker, the author uses a couple of different techniques in order to create suspense. There a couple of main things, which create the tension and glues the reader to the story. Firstly, the author creates a time limit; Nailer has to warn Tool before the monsters get to him. Secondly, the author put in a conflict were Nailer can try to warn Tool, but if he does, the monsters will see him. In this case, Nailer has to make quick decisions. Furthermore, the author has used quick sharp dialogue. By using this technique, the readers will read quicker and will get the illusion that the situation is full of action.
By using these and many other techniques, the author creates a suspenseful, dramatic scene and glues you to the story.
(I will be using an African American dialect in some dialogues, it might look like misspelling)
The deathbed of an immortal woman
A sweet summer night breeze rolled into the cold, pale hospital room. Henrietta cuddled up into her bed sheets. Her fingers were shivering. She could vaguely hear the sea. Birds flying high. Calm sea brushing against the sandy shore and the trees who followed the wind. She could remember her children play, laughing. Her memory was not completely clear. She had been here for so long now. Last time I saw my children was nearly five years ago. They ain’t got no time for old Henny. Theyr’e all mindin their own business now.
Henrietta Lacks had been in the hospital for five years. In the beginning, everyone had been visiting her, but now they would only drop in maybe once a month or so.
“Hello, Miss Lacks, time for dinner,” a nurse stumbled into the room, with a huge pot of stew. Henrietta looked up. The nurse smiled, giving Henrietta a glance at her nasty rotten teeth. The smell of dead rats and rotten apples filled the room.
She rolled over, turning her back towards the nurse and looked outside.
“I ain’t hungry, leave me alone”
The nurse frowned. She shook her shoulders and sighed.
“Very well, if you need anything just ring the bell,” she straightened her skirt, lifted the heavy pot and stumbled back out.
Henrietta grabbed a little doll. It was a little girl, with dark hair and a pink dress, made out of string. The little doll stood on the counter next to her. It had been a gift from Day, when Deborah was born. She tucked it closely inside her hand.
Last time I saw my little Deborah she was just a year old. She should be about five now. Oh, how wanted to be at her first day at school and her last five birthdays. I would do anything to see her again. Anything to brush her curly raven black hair. Anything to talk to her and tell her how to handle them boys.
“I miss you” Henrietta whispered.
“Miss. Lacks?” It was that nurse again. Henrietta could see her reflection in the window. She was smiling, happy as can be. Henrietta folded her fists, tightening her grip around the little doll. No! All I want is some thinkin time.
“Miss. Lacks?” the voice became louder.
Henrietta bit her teeth. The rage was boiling in her throat. One… more… time….
She hit the side of the bed and turned around fiercely.
“WHAT IS IT!?”
The nurse’s smile disappeared. “T-th-there is someone for you,” she looked down at the ground and left with a quick pace.
Henrietta felt sorry for the nurse. She was just doing her job. Henrietta could hear some vague mumbling outside her room. She put her doll back on the counter and struggled herself on to the side of her bed in an upright position. She had become weaker. I wonder who would want to visit me. The mumbling stopped and the doorknob started turning, slowly until it unlocked the door with a clear “click”. The piece of wood turned calmly, revealing the silhouette of a little girl about the age of six. She just stood there, and stared Henrietta dead into her eyes. There was a moment of silence. The little girl moved her eyebrows up and down a bit, eventually stretching her arms out.
“M-m-mommy?” the girl started running towards Henrietta. Henrietta felt a warming glow, growing inside her heart. She smiled, almost in tears, stretching her arms out accepting the hug with all her heart.
“Anna!” the nurse shouted, “that’s the wrong room! Your mother is in the next room”
The girl stopped just before she got to Henrietta and pulled her hands back. Her eyes turned to fear.
“Sorry,” she whispered, and turned away quickly. Henrietta’s smile disappeared. The warming glow growing within her disappeared and replaced by a cold and empty space of nothingness.
One single tear rolled down over her dark chin. Her arms fell down on her lap, and Henrietta buried her face into them.
A new voice, this one was familiar. She looked up, her eyes were red and her face covered in tears. The silhouette started moving towards Henrietta, and gave her a hug. Henrietta’s eyes glowed with gratefulness. It was her sister.
“How are you doing?” her voice was soft and calming.
“Not so well,”
Henrietta looked at her palms.
“How long have you got?” Dolores’ voice cracked while saying these horrible words.
“I don’t know. Two or three hour’s maybe,” tears started rolling down Henrietta’s face.
A doctor came inside, he was tall and strong, and did not really look caring.
“Hello, my name Is Doctor Grey,” He said, oblivious to what they were doing. “I just wanted to see how you are,” He quickly checked the equipment and walked towards Henrietta’s nurse.
“When she dies, call me immediately. I need her cells,” She nodded.
“Ladies,” he said, and left the room.
Henrietta laid herself back into the bed. She started to breathe heavily. Quicker, and quicker, eventually gasping for air.
“What’s going on?” Dolores’ said. Her with eyes drawn in fear.
Henrietta grabbed Dolores’ hand helplessly. She continued to gasp. Slowly she calmed down and after a couple of minutes she was finally breathing normally again.
“Where is Day?” Henrietta said. Holding on to Dolores’ hands.
“He is on his way,”
“Come on Deborah!” Day said, “Get in the car!”
Deborah smiled, and grabbed Day’s and.
“Where are we going, daddy?”
Day helped little Deborah onto her little seat and secured her.
“Jippi!” said Deborah gladly. “I miss her”
“We all have, darling. I just hope we will be there in time,”
Henrietta was still coughing and breathing uncontrollably. Dolores had been with her the past two hours, and was sitting on an old rusty chair next to her.
Dolores stood up, and grabbed her hand.
“Yes, darling,” she said. “Day, will be here any minute now, with Deborah,”
Henrietta looked horrible. She barely had enough strength to keep her eyes open. Henrietta moved her lips a bit back and forth, and opened her mouth.
“…You make sure Day takes care of them children,” she told her sister.
“No! Don’t tell me this. You will survive!” tears started running down Dolores’ face.
“Especially my baby girl Deborah,” Henrietta continued she could not hold back her tears either.
“Don’t die now! Day will be here soon, and it will all be okay!”
“I’ll do my best,” she said.
Day drove as fast as he could. His palms were sweaty. Hope I make it! He rushed through the hospitals parking lots and pulled up beside the main entrance.
“Come on, Deborah,” he said, pulling his daughter out of the car. She grabbed his hand. They ran inside and rushed through the endless maze of cold dark rooms and corridors.
“Excuse me,” he said, to a passing nurse “Do you know where Henrietta Lacks is,” he could barely speak.
“Yes, second floor, room 203,”
Day had no time to thank her, and rushed towards the stairs. He put Deborah on his back and jumped up towards the second floor.
“Why, are you running, daddy?” Deborah said.
Day did not answer he just kept on running. 198…197…199… 200… 201… 202…
“HERE!” he said and bashed into the room.
Dolores sat next to Henrietta’s bed. Her face buried into her hands. Day put down Deborah.
He slowly started to walk towards the bed. One step after the other, until he stood next to it. Dolores stood up.
“Is she …?”
“I’m so sorry, Day,”