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
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.
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.