I noticed a recurring mention of ankles and shackles while reading Kind One this weekend. As we saw at the beginning of the book, Ginny/Sue mutilates her body by cutting her ankle. She developed a scar from doing this over and over again. Later on, we learn that Cleome and Zinnia are often imprisoned in Linus’s shed as punishment. “There was a chain at the back and that’s where Zinnia was. It was a heavy chain. It had thirty-seven and a half links” (53). We learn that this chain has an ankle shackle when Cleome and Zinnia imprison Ginny in the shed. “…they dragged me out to the shed and put the shackle on my leg…” (87). Also, Alcofibras tells the story of the onion who loses everything. “That night the onion slept in the coal cellar with iron on his ankle…” (74).
As we discussed last Friday, prison seems to be a theme that is running through this book. The frequent use of literal shackles reinforces this theme. In regard to Sue’s self mutilation, I think it is possible that she is punishing herself for the way that she treated Cleome and Zinnia by reminding herself of the prison she put them in.
I also wanted to mention that I realized that Cleome and Zinnia are names of flowers, another theme of Kind One. The name Ginny, a shortened form of Virginia, means “virginal and pure.” I also looked up the name Sue, and it means “Lily.”