• Gold Slippers and Cyborg Feet: Comparing Adopted Bodies in the Grimms’ “Cinderella” and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder

    Deanna Stover (see profile)
    Young adult literature
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    MLA 2016
    Conf. Org.:
    Modern Language Association
    Permanent URL:
    Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles is a young adult series of science-fiction retellings of classic fairytales. The series abounds with adopted or orphaned heroines—Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White)—but Cinder, the titular character of the first installment of The Lunar Chronicles, is of particular interest to the study of adoption. In her retelling of the Cinderella fairytale, Meyer dramatically alters the story of Cinderella’s birth: rather than a stepchild, Cinder is an adoptee. To complicate Cinder’s sense of belonging further, she was made into a cyborg as a child due to traumatic injuries and she discovers that she is Lunar, a genetically modified race that is on the verge of war with the Earthen Alliance where she has grown up. Cinder’s struggles with identity and understanding her own body are made even more compelling through a comparison with the Grimms’ “Cinderella.” In both texts, the body (and the violence done to it) is a source of identification. In “Cinderella,” the prince is able to identify Cinderella by the shape and size of her foot before making her a part of his family. In Cinder, after her true identity has been revealed to her, the medical scans taken of Cinder’s body become a text through which she can begin to understand her own biology and background. In striking contrast to Grimms’ “Cinderella,” Cinder participates in the reading of her body; while Cinderella’s point of view is silenced, Cinder becomes empowered through self-knowledge, both in regards to her physical body and her birth origins. This comparison of the creation of identity through reading and analyzing the body in Cinder and “Cinderella” will add to the discussion of the psychological and physical repercussions of closed adoption, a system through which corporeal identities are silenced and minimized.
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