The Not-So Austen Bookclub discussion

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)
This topic is about Cinder
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Group Book Of The Month > Cinder - March BOTM Discussion

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message 1: by Booknut, Head Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Booknut 101 (booknut101) | 4592 comments Mod
Discuss the book here!

The question to think about is:

What makes a person 'human' - is it simply their body parts (e.g. humans, androids, cyborgs) or is it something deeper? Use the story to explain.

Feel free to extend the discussion beyond the questions and simply talk about the book as well :D


Elaney | 60 comments Being human is having emotions and making mistakes. Iko, even though she was an android, had emotions. The reason she had emotions was because she had a faulty personality chip, so she wasn't a perfect android. Even though cyborgs have metal body parts, they're still human.

I find it odd that cyborgs aren't considered human, when it was usually an injury that caused them to have to become a cyborg. Nowadays, people are trying to invent better prosthetic limbs. If someone succeeds, will everyone who has them be considered a freak?


message 3: by Booknut, Head Moderator (last edited Dec 17, 2013 08:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Booknut 101 (booknut101) | 4592 comments Mod
H99 wrote: "Human and person are different. You can be a human without being a person, or a person without being a human. "

I think they're all elements. The element of personhood - what makes us a person - is apart of what makes us human. You can't be human without being a person, because they are intrinsically linked.

However, you can be a being. The cyborgs or androids are beings. They aren't human beings, though. They carry similar traits to those of human beings, but they lack the fundamental ones, hence the difference.

People who are persons are also human, and should therefore be treated as such. But we are all beings, and should therefore respect one another on that basis. After all, on a philosophical level, there are many 'levels' of beings. Plants and animals have their own traits, but are fundamentally different to humans. But they are still beings. We still respect the world around us, and the animals that reside within it. But they are not human, nor persons.

Although the labels change, as do the traits and characteristics, the fact remains that there are differences.

But these differences should not = a lesser level of respect.

Sure, cyborgs, etc. aren't human. And are technically not persons, according to philosophical definitions and natural law, etc. But they should still be respected. All life should be respected, because life is a precious gift.

That's where ethics comes in.

But it is what occurs at a deeper level that determines whether or not we are human. Simple characteristics, such as a conscience, intellect, a will - things that separate animals from humans. A dog doesn't have free will. A dog relies on instinct, as do most animals. That (for e.g.) is a key difference between animals and humans. Humans are not enslaved by instinct, due to the combination of their intellect and will.

Cinder is not enslaved by instinct. She makes decision for herself, as well as sacrifices - experiencing a wide range of complex emotions that an animal could not. She is therefore equal to humans on a deeper level. She is not physically human, but she's capable of human qualities.


Eugenia (Genie In A Book) (genie-inabook) | 88 comments Wow Booknut - what you just said there was really insightful and I totally agree. I find a lot of novels I've read where the part of being human/robot/android is explored, questioning what it means to be human - and that in itself is a really interesting concept.


message 5: by Booknut, Head Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Booknut 101 (booknut101) | 4592 comments Mod
H99 wrote: "Okay, Booknut. I see where that's coming from, and I agree, to a certain extent. I meant that not all humans have emotions or care about other people. For example, a human who goes and shoots child..."

They are persons. They simply have a flaw in their human/person facilities. Just like a camera with a broken lens is still an electronic device. It just doesn't work properly.

People who are killers, or murderers, are still human and persons. But they have warped ways of thinking/mental disorder/other problems.


Elaney | 60 comments H99 wrote: "I think they don't consider cyborgs human because their minds are modified as well.

Scarlet Spoilers!

[spoilers removed]"


Good insight.


message 7: by Zohal, Co-Moderator (last edited Apr 12, 2014 02:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zohal | 1418 comments Mod
In my opinion, what makes Humans human is our ability to distinguish right from wrong and our emotions. It's part of our humanity.


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