Marissa Meyer

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Themes and Colors
Bravery and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Power, Greed, and Evil Theme Icon
Stereotypes and Discrimination Theme Icon
Secrecy and Manipulation Theme Icon
Resourcefulness, Kindness, and Perseverance Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Cinder, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Bravery and Sacrifice

Cinder is a futuristic retelling of the classic folktale “Cinderella.” Like the original, Cinder is a tale of good versus evil, as the teenage protagonist, Cinder, tries to escape the influence of her wicked stepmother, Adri.  She also attempts to find a cure for letumosis (a deadly disease plaguing the Eastern Commonwealth, where Cinder lives) and tries to prevent Queen Levana (the ruler of Luna, the society on the moon) from marrying…

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Power, Greed, and Evil

While Cinder portrays bravery and self-sacrifice as essential forces of good, greed and a thirst for power become the cornerstones of evil for the book’s antagonists. The Lunar Queen Levana, Levana’s advisor Sybil Mira, and Cinder’s stepmother Adri are all in positions of power and are supposed to care for others—their citizens or their family, respectively. But instead of caring for others, they instead focus on their own desires and needs, to the…

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Stereotypes and Discrimination

In the fairytale “Cinderella,” characters largely overlook the titular protagonist because of her poverty. In Cinder, a futuristic adaptation of the original classic, people avoid Cinder because she is a cyborg—that is, part robot, with a computerized brain interface and several mechanical limbs. Cyborgs are widely discriminated against on Earth in the novel, but they aren’t the only group that’s stereotyped. Humans on Earth, or “Earthens,” also despise those who live…

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Secrecy and Manipulation

The societies in Cinder are filled with secrecy and manipulation, the most obvious example being the Lunar people, who are able to telepathically manipulate the thoughts and actions of those around them using their “gift.” In addition, people like Cinder or Dr. Erland often try to conceal parts of their identity or the identity of others in order to paint themselves in a better light or to try and protect others. Yet in…

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Resourcefulness, Kindness, and Perseverance

Cinder shares many major plot points with its predecessor “Cinderella”—particularly Charles Perrault’s Cendrillon, the 17th-century version of the folktale. Both center on a poor female protagonist with a wicked stepmother and stepsisters who goes to a ball and falls in love with a prince. However, there are crucial differences between the two stories: primarily, there is no figure comparable to the fairy godmother in the original tale, who makes Cinderella’s wishes come true by…

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