Marissa Meyer

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Cinder’s Mechanical Foot Symbol Analysis

Cinder’s Mechanical Foot Symbol Icon

Cinder’s mechanical foot represents her resourcefulness and perseverance in the face of difficult circumstances. In the book’s opening passage, Cinder replaces her small, rusty, 11-year-old mechanical foot with an expensive new prosthetic. But at the end of the novel, when Adri realizes that Cinder purchased this foot without her knowing, Adri takes the prosthetic away from her. As a result, in order to go to the ball, Cinder must reattach her old prosthetic foot, which is very uncomfortable—and her willingness to do so represents her resourcefulness and unyielding determination. At the end of the ball, as Cinder flees from Queen Levana, the foot severs from Cinder’s calf—calling back to the classic fairy tale “Cinderella” that Cinder is based on, in which Cinderella’s glass slipper falls off. But these two symbols represent two different ideas: in the original, the fairy godmother gave Cinderella the slipper, equating it with luck and magic. However, Cinder had to overcome the obstacle of her foot herself in order to go to the ball, which instead emphasizes the importance of ingenuity and grit.

Cinder’s Mechanical Foot Quotes in Cinder

The Cinder quotes below all refer to the symbol of Cinder’s Mechanical Foot. 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:
Bravery and Sacrifice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Feiwel and Friends edition of Cinder published in 2012.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“They say you’re the best mechanic in New Beijing. I was expecting an old man.”

“Do they?” she murmured.

He wasn’t the first to voice surprise. Most of her customers couldn’t fathom how a teenage girl could be the best mechanic in the city, and she never broadcast the reason for her talent. The fewer people who knew she was cyborg, the better. She was sure she’d go mad if all the market shopkeepers looked at her with the same disdain as Chang Sacha did.

Related Characters: Prince Kai (speaker), Cinder/Princess Selene (speaker), Chang Sacha, Sunto
Related Symbols: Cinder’s Mechanical Foot
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Irritation hardened in Cinder’s gut. She might have pointed out that Pearl and Peony could have been given ready-made rather than custom dresses in order to budget for Cinder’s as well. She might have pointed out that they would only wear their dresses one time too. She might have pointed out that, as she was the one doing the work, the money should have been hers to spend as she saw fit. But all arguments would come to nothing. Legally, Cinder belonged to Adri as much as the household android and so too did her money, her few possessions, even the new foot she’d just attached. Adri loved to remind her of that.

Related Characters: Cinder/Princess Selene, Adri, Pearl, Peony, Iko
Related Symbols: Cinder’s Mechanical Foot
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

Levana knew he had been searching for Princess Selene. She would kill him. She would take over the Commonwealth. She would wage war on…on the whole planet.

She grasped her head as the world spun around her.

She had to warn him. She couldn’t let him make the announcement.

She could send him a comm, but what were the chances he was checking them during the ball?

The ball.

Cinder peered down at her drab clothes. Her empty ankle. Peony’s dress. The old foot that Iko had saved. The silk gloves. Her head bobbed before she knew what she was agreeing to, and she used the shelves to pull herself to standing. “I’ll go,” she muttered, “I’ll find him.”

Related Characters: Cinder/Princess Selene (speaker), Prince Kai, Queen Levana, Iko, Peony, Adri
Related Symbols: Cinder’s Mechanical Foot
Page Number: 323
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

On the fifth step, she heard the bolts snap. The wires tore loose, like tendons stretched to the max. She felt the loss of power at the base of her calf, sending a blinding warning signal up to her brain.

She fell, screaming, and tried to block her fall with her left hand. A shock of pain jolted up her shoulder and into her spine. Metal clattered against stone as she crashed down to the gravel pathway. […]

His eyes drunk her in—a gleam of metal fingers, the wires sparking at the end of her battered metal leg. His jaw fell, and he looked momentarily as if he might be sick.

Related Symbols: Cinder’s Mechanical Foot
Page Number: 365-366
Explanation and Analysis:

“Was it all an illusion?” he asked.

Pain lanced through her chest, squeezing the air out of her. “Kai?”

“Was it all in my head? A Lunar trick?”

Her stomach twisted. “No.” She shook her head, fervently. How to explain that she hadn’t had the gift before? That she couldn’t have used it against him? “I would never lie—”

The words faded. She had lied. Everything he knew about her had been a lie.

Related Characters: Prince Kai (speaker), Cinder/Princess Selene (speaker)
Related Symbols: Cinder’s Mechanical Foot
Page Number: 367
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 38 Quotes

As her hands stopped shaking, she slid the stiletto knife out from the new titanium-plated finger and maneuvered the blade against her wrist. The cut was still fresh where she’d started to remove her ID chip before, so they would not be able to track her. This time, there was no hesitation.

Soon, the whole world would be searching for her—Linh Cinder.

A deformed cyborg with a missing foot.

A Lunar with a stolen identity.

A mechanic with no one to run to, nowhere to go. But they would be looking for a ghost.

Related Symbols: Cinder’s Mechanical Foot
Page Number: 387
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Cinder LitChart as a printable PDF.
Cinder PDF

Cinder’s Mechanical Foot Symbol Timeline in Cinder

The timeline below shows where the symbol Cinder’s Mechanical Foot appears in Cinder. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Stereotypes and Discrimination Theme Icon
Resourcefulness, Kindness, and Perseverance Theme Icon
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is waiting for her android Iko to come back with a new foot for her—the metal foot that she currently has is rusted, and she’s worn it since... (full context)
Chapter 32
Resourcefulness, Kindness, and Perseverance Theme Icon
...should her own body or the car malfunction, and she sees her old, small mechanical foot: Iko must have saved it. (full context)
Bravery and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Power, Greed, and Evil Theme Icon
Resourcefulness, Kindness, and Perseverance Theme Icon marry Levana at the ball that evening. Picking up Peony’s dress, the small mechanical foot, and the silk gloves, Cinder resolves to go to the ball. (full context)
Chapter 33
Resourcefulness, Kindness, and Perseverance Theme Icon
Cinder quickly pulls on the dress, the gloves, and installs her 11-year-old-size foot before putting on a set of Pearl’s discarded boots. Cinder knows she looks like a... (full context)
Chapter 34
Secrecy and Manipulation Theme Icon
Kai guides Cinder through the dance as she tries not to limp on her small foot. Cinder apologizes for Adri’s behavior, and Kai grows serious, asking her why she didn’t tell... (full context)
Chapter 36
Resourcefulness, Kindness, and Perseverance Theme Icon
...the gun and runs for the exit, down the garden stairs. Suddenly, she feels her foot unlatch, and she falls down the stairs. Kai looks at her over the railing, taking... (full context)
Secrecy and Manipulation Theme Icon
...the stairs, a look of disgust on his face. He picks up the rusted cyborg foot and asks Cinder if everything was in his head. Cinder assures him that she wouldn’t... (full context)