A Mercy

Florens’s Shoes Symbol Analysis

Florens’s Shoes Symbol Icon

Throughout the book, various narrators pay attention to Florens’s shoes. Florens gets her first pair of shoes, a pair of D’Ortega’s wife’s broken heels, in Maryland. Florens’s mother tells her they are impractical because Florens needs to develop tough feet. When Florens arrives at the Vaarks’ farm, Lina makes her a pair of soft skin boots. Then, when Rebekka sends Florens out to find the Blacksmith, she wears Jacob’s boots. Florens’s shoes, which change several times over the course of the novel, serve as a way to anchor the reader in the book, which plays with many different narrators and timelines. Moreover, in the final chapter of Florens’s narrative, Florens walks shoeless through the forest, and notes that her feet are finally tough. Florens’s lack of shoes at the plot’s end symbolizes her coming of age and her new painful awareness of the dangers of life and love.

Florens’s Shoes Quotes in A Mercy

The A Mercy quotes below all refer to the symbol of Florens’s Shoes. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A Mercy published in 2009.
Chapter 1 Quotes

A woman comes to me and says stand up. I do and she takes my cloak from my shoulders. Then my wooden shoes. She walks away. Reverend Father turns a pale red color when he returns and learns what happens…Finally he takes rags, strips of sailcloth lying about and wraps my feet. Now I am knowing that unlike with Senhor, priests are unlove here. A sailor spits into the sea when Reverend Father asks him for help. Reverend Father is the only kind man I ever see.

Related Characters: Florens (speaker), The Reverend Father
Related Symbols: Florens’s Shoes
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other A Mercy quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 11 Quotes

I will keep one sadness. That all this time I cannot know what my mother is telling me. Nor can she know what I am wanting to tell her. Mãe, you can have pleasure now because the soles of my feet are hard as cypress.

Related Characters: Florens (speaker), Florens’s Mother
Related Symbols: Florens’s Shoes
Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehend

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire A Mercy LitChart as a printable PDF.
A mercy.pdf.medium

Florens’s Shoes Symbol Timeline in A Mercy

The timeline below shows where the symbol Florens’s Shoes appears in A Mercy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
...will start recounting her narrative from the part that she knows is certain, beginning with shoes. Florens describes how, as a child, she did not like being barefoot, and would beg... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
...find the Blacksmith, Florens’s current mistress Rebekka and Lina gave her “Sir’s” (Jacob’s, Florens’s master) boots. (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
Lina and Rebekka stuff the boots with cornhusks and hay so they fit Florens better and tell her to hide a... (full context)
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
...her to Jacob’s farm. During the boat ride, a woman stole Florens’s cloak and wooden shoes. When the Reverend returned, he was angry and embarrassed. When a sailor spit at the... (full context)
Chapter 2
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
...behind the woman’s skirts steps out into Jacob’s view. She is wearing a pair of shoes that are too big for her, and the sight of them makes Jacob laugh. The... (full context)
Chapter 4
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
...the place where she and Florens used to sleep. Lina looks at Florens’s rabbit skin shoes, which Lina made for her herself. Lina leaves, feeling shaken, and stands at the door.... (full context)
Chapter 5
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
...that Rebekka has a good heart. She remembers when Lina asked Rebekka for Patrician’s old shoes to give to Florens, and how Rebekka agreed, but cried when she saw Florens wearing... (full context)
Chapter 6
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
...Her feverish thoughts jump to Florens as a child, silent until Lina replaced her old shoes from her life in Maryland with the pair that Lina made for her. (full context)
Chapter 7
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
...the house. Jacob purchased Lina, but first she put two rooster heads in her lover’s shoes to curse him. (full context)
Chapter 9
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
...the eggs. Malaik sleeps behind the door of the Blacksmith’s bedroom. Florens takes off her boots (formerly Jacob’s boots) and lies on the Blacksmith’s cot. (full context)
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
Florens notices that Jacob’s boots are missing. Florens watches a snake crawl around the garden until nightfall and goes back... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
...away from the Blacksmith’s house to the Vaarks’ farm. The trip is difficult without Jacob’s boots. Florens thinks that after losing the Blacksmith she will be more guarded against people who... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
...to work metal and swung them at him, making him bleed. Florens then ran away, shoeless. (full context)
Chapter 12
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
...how her love could not offer Florens any protection, especially with Florens’s precocious affinity for shoes. (full context)