The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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David (Day) Lacks Character Analysis

Henrietta’s husband, Day is old and forgetful by the time that Rebecca begins to write her story about his wife. Day is raised along with Henrietta as a child, and the two begin having children together in their mid-teenage years. Although Day seems to love Henrietta, he also is frequently unfaithful to her, and passes along several venereal diseases (one of which may have been responsible for the mental challenges of their oldest daughter, Elsie).
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David (Day) Lacks Character Timeline in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The timeline below shows where the character David (Day) Lacks appears in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Exam
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It is January 29, 1951, and David Lacks , Henrietta’s husband, is waiting with his three children outside Johns Hopkins Hospital. A few... (full context)
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...with having given birth to Deborah a few weeks earlier, or to the STIs that David Lacks has given her in the past by being unfaithful. However she refuses to get it... (full context)
Chapter 2: Clover
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...slave quarters. He was already raising another older grandchild named David Lacks, whom everyone called “Day.” Originally pronounced dead by a white doctor because he wasn’t breathing, David eventually revived. (full context)
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Henrietta and Day would get up at 4 AM every morning to tend to the farm before going... (full context)
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Henrietta and Day grow older, racing horses along the dirt road that runs through the former Lacks tobacco... (full context)
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...and an intellectual disability, most likely brought on by syphilis contracted and passed on by Day. The family at Lacks Town, however, originally just calls her “simple” or “touched.” (full context)
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When he finds out that Henrietta is going to marry Day, Crazy Joe Grinnan stabs himself. Eventually his father ties him up and takes him to... (full context)
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Henrietta and Day get married on April 10, 1941. Soon after, the U.S. enters WWII, and the tobacco... (full context)
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Fred has returned to Clover to try to convince Henrietta and Day to come back to Turner Station with him. The men decide that Henrietta should stay... (full context)
Chapter 3: Diagnosis and Treatment
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...news, but asks her husband to take her to Hopkins the next day. She assures Day and the children that nothing is wrong. In the hospital, Henrietta signs a form giving... (full context)
Chapter 5: Blackness Be Spreadin All Inside
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...need to wait at her cousin Margaret’s house (just a few blocks from Hopkins) for Day to pick her up. Henrietta informs Sadie and Margaret of her illness while they’re on... (full context)
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After her treatments, Henrietta walks to Margaret’s, where Day picks her up. Soon enough, Henrietta’s bleeding clears up. At the end of her treatments,... (full context)
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...begins X-ray therapy, Henrietta begins to feel a painful burning sensation when she urinates. While Day claims that she must have given him her illness, Howard Jones thinks it more likely... (full context)
Chapter 6: “Lady’s on the Phone”
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...organizing the next HeLa conference. He mentions that Deborah Lacks lives in Baltimore, and that Day is still alive at eighty-four. He then moves on to Elsie, whom he reveals died... (full context)
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...want her to talk to Rebecca. She gives Rebecca three numbers: those of her father Day, her brother Lawrence, and her brother David (called Sonny) before hanging up. (full context)
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...well as her brothers and father. After several days, two boys answer the phone at Day’s house. Upon hearing Rebecca’s voice, they immediately know that she wants to learn about Henrietta’s... (full context)
Chapter 8: A Miserable Specimen
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Up until now, only Sadie, Margaret, and Day know that Henrietta is sick. Now everyone knows, however, and neighbors can hear Henrietta’s cries... (full context)
Chapter 9: Turner Station
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The narrative returns to the present. A few days after speaking with Day, Rebecca drives to Baltimore to meet with Sonny, who has finally called her back. The... (full context)
Chapter 11: “The Devil of Pain Itself”
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...her children. After she falls asleep, Gladys goes back home to Clover. She then calls Day to tell him that Henrietta is going to die, and to say that her last... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Storm
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...no law about taking cells from a living patient, the doctors at Hopkins must ask Day whether they can remove tissue from Henrietta’s dead body. When they first call, Day says... (full context)
Chapter 15: “Too Young to Remember”
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...Henrietta’s funeral, cousins from Clover and Turner Station help to care for her family. While Day works two jobs, Lawrence drops out of school to care for his siblings. At sixteen,... (full context)
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...Many of the cousins believe that Ethel is trying to move on from Galen to Day, while others believe that she is trying to get back at Henrietta, whom she hated,... (full context)
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...eye of Ethel’s husband Galen, who begins to sexually abuse her. She tries to tell Day, but he doesn’t believe her. Galen chases Deborah naked and calls her a “whore,” but... (full context)
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...up and begins screaming at her. When Deborah refuses to get in, he returns with Day. Galen throws her into the car and punches her in the face, all as Day... (full context)
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While growing up, Deborah doesn’t even know she has a sister. When Day finally tells her, Elsie is already dead. Inconsolable, Deborah starts trying to learn about Elsie.... (full context)
Chapter 16: “Spending Eternity in the Same Place”
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...oldest white Lackses. They are distant cousins both to each other, and to Henrietta and Day. When Rebecca mentions Henrietta, however, they deny any connection with her, saying that white Lackses... (full context)
Chapter 21: Night Doctors
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...vaccine; they know that HeLa was involved in this too. Sonny reveals that he’s brought Day with him. At eighty-four, their father is fragile, with terrible gangrene in his feet. The... (full context)
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Rebecca gets ready to record an interview with Day, but first asks if Deborah might want to come over. The Lacks men say that... (full context)
Chapter 23: “It’s Alive”
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...a doctoral fellow named Susan Hsu. When she gets home from the conference, Hsu calls Day to see if she can draw blood from the Lackses. Day believes that they want... (full context)
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After Day talks with Susan Hsu, he calls his children, telling them to gather at the house... (full context)
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...that McKusick and Susan Hsu are trying to give the Lackses cancer. She begins asking Day questions about Henrietta’s death, and his answers only make her more suspicious. Eventually, a researcher... (full context)
Chapter 26: Breach of Privacy
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...and alcohol, and can’t hold down a job; most nights, he ends up homeless. When Day tries to help Zakariyya, however, his son refuses him. He hates his father for burying... (full context)
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Day and his fellow workers participate in a class-action lawsuit because of asbestos exposure at Bethlehem... (full context)
Chapter 32: “All That’s My Mother”
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When Deborah is finally ready to see Henrietta’s cells, Day is too ill to come, Sonny has to work, and Lawrence refuses to go to... (full context)
Chapter 38: The Long Road to Clover
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...a heart attack, and that a few months later, Fred Garret died as well. Next Day passed, and then Cootie committed suicide. Deborah calls Rebecca after every death and cries. (full context)