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
“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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
“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.
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.