The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Lucille Elsie Pleasant Character Analysis

Henrietta’s oldest daughter, Elsie has mental challenges and seizures, and eventually must be institutionalized. Rebecca implies that her difficulties may have been caused by syphilis that Day passed on to his wife and unborn child. Elsie dies at age 15 in an asylum, under what Deborah and Rebecca later learn were horrific conditions. Finding out what happened to her sister is one of the driving forces of Deborah’s life, although the truth causes her to have an emotional and physical breakdown.
Get the entire Henrietta Lacks LitChart as a printable PDF.
The immortal life of henrietta lacks.pdf.medium

Lucille Elsie Pleasant Character Timeline in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The timeline below shows where the character Lucille Elsie Pleasant appears in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Clover
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
...she has their first child—Lawrence—when she’s fourteen. Four years later, she gives birth to Lucile Elsie Pleasant, called Elsie. (full context)
Family and Faith Theme Icon
We learn about Elsie, who has epilepsy and an intellectual disability, most likely brought on by syphilis contracted and... (full context)
Chapter 5: Blackness Be Spreadin All Inside
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
The author turns her attention to Henrietta’soldest daughter, the mentally impaired Elsie. Before her illness, Henrietta would frequently take Elsie to Clover. As she grew older, however,... (full context)
Chapter 6: “Lady’s on the Phone”
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
...in Baltimore, and that Day is still alive at eighty-four. He then moves on to Elsie, whom he reveals died at fifteen. Deborah, he explains, recently had a stroke because of... (full context)
Chapter 15: “Too Young to Remember”
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
...her hearing problems might be caused by her parents being first cousins, Deborah wonders whether Elsie’smental challenges might be due to a genetic disorder as well. (full context)
Family and Faith Theme Icon
...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. She asks Lawrence for... (full context)
Chapter 28: After London
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
...decides to request a copy of Henrietta’s medical records from Hopkins—as well as records for Elsie. She also meets with Kidwell, who pledges that Hopkins will fight off Cofield. They do,... (full context)
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
Technology and Globalization Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
...the house or even answering the phone. She reads her mother’s records, and learns that Elsie ended up in Crownsville. Deborah is afraid that Elsie was experimented on, and grows more... (full context)
Chapter 29: A Village of Henriettas
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
...last Deborah calls Rebecca: she demands that Rebecca get Henrietta’s name right, that she mention Elsie, and that she help Deborah find out “what happened to my mother and my sister.” (full context)
Chapter 30: Zakariyya
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
Technology and Globalization Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
Rebecca describes Zakariyya’s tiny apartment, in which he’s hung pictures of Henrietta and Elsie. He expresses a belief that Henrietta’s cancer damaged him mentally, while Deborah holds that it... (full context)
Chapter 33: The Hospital for the Negro Insane
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Rebecca explains that she has promised to help Deborah find out what happened to Elsie. After visiting Christoph’slab, the two women travel to Crownsville. They plan to stop at Clover... (full context)
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
...improvement, but also has a passion for history. He asks Deborah to tell him about Elsie, and she shows him her sister’s death certificate. Lurz takes the women to a room... (full context)
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
Along with the picture, the group also finds Elsie’s autopsy report, which states that her mental challenges most likely were due to syphilis, and... (full context)
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
...was rampant, and scientists often conducted experiments on inmates without consent. Deborah, meanwhile, worries that Elsie believed herself forgotten by her own family. (full context)
Family and Faith Theme Icon
...Deborah needs a break. They arrive to learn that the archives have no record of Elsie. They then move on to Clover, where an excited Deborah repeatedly shows passersby her new... (full context)
Chapter 34: The Medical Records
Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Icon
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
Moments later, a panicked Deborah—still clutching her photo of Elsie—knocks on Rebecca’s door and asks to read the records along with her. Rebecca offers to... (full context)
Chapter 35: Soul Cleansing
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Progress vs. Privacy Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
...where Deborah asks Rebecca to take a photo of her with the two pictures of Elsie in front of Henrietta’s grave. They then go to visit the elderly Gladys’s house, where... (full context)
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
Gladys’s son Gary comes in, and Deborah shows him the new picture of Elsie. He and Rebecca are both worried about the over-emotional Deborah, who’s still covered in hives.... (full context)
Chapter 38: The Long Road to Clover
Family and Faith Theme Icon
Immortality and Its Costs  Theme Icon
...attack. Sonny has cut off a lock of her hair to keep with Henrietta’s and Elsie’s. He tells Rebecca that his sister is with the two of them now. (full context)