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Plot Summary:





Coraline is a girl with a heart for adventure and a passion for exploration. She is constantly ignored by her hard working parents and is often left to fend on her own. The majority of her time is spent exploring both the insides and outsides of her new home, which at first seems very mundane. She even visits her eccentric neighbors, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, retired actresses who still hold that passion, and Mr. Bobinsky, who is training a rat circus.



On one particular day while counting the number of windows and doors in her new home, out of boredom of course, Coraline discovers that one of the doors is locked. She asks her mother for an explanation, in which her mother shows her that behind the door is a brick wall leading to another flat that is not inhabited. On a day soon to follow, Coraline becomes bored again and locates the key to the door and unlocks it only to find no bricks and a flat similar to her own. In this apartment she meets her ‘other’ mother and father, who strangely resemble her actual parents except for one drastic feature, they have big shiny buttons as eyes. They cater to Coraline and give her what she really wanted from her actual parents, attention.



After sensing all is not right with her ‘other’ family, Coraline attempts to escape her ‘other’ parent’s house. She immediately finds that her actual parents have been kidnapped and her other parents plan to make Coraline theirs forever. She also finds that her ‘other’ mother has trapped the souls of three other children and has hidden them in the mirrors of the house.



With the aid of her sarcastic and witty friend, the black cat, Coraline places a bet with her ‘other’ mother to win back the souls of the trapped children and her actual parents. Previously Miss Spink and Miss Forcible warned that Coraline was in great danger and gave her a small stone with a hole through the center that would protect her against evil. In the challenging game to find her parents and the lost souls, Corlaine uses the stone to find and gather the souls of the children and her actual parents. She successfully escapes with everyone with the help of her loyal friend the black cat. Soon Corlaine realizes that all is not done because the hand of the ‘other’ mother is trying to steal the key that opens the corridor between the flats. Motivated with her success in the game Coraline won, she devises a plan, which leads to the demise of the ‘other’ mother’s hand.











The genre of this novel is fantasy, which as defined by C&G, is imaginative literature distinguished by characters, places, or events that could not happen in the real world. The events in Coraline could potentially be realistic up until she steps into her ‘other’ household.



The genre of horror could also be depicted in this novel. Horror is defined as any medium that unsettles, scares or horrifies the audience. The presence of the ‘other’ mother and father emit horror from the story, as well as the events described in the other’ household. 









Textual Elements









Coraline – The heroine and main character of this story. She is an explorer and adventurer that is very curious and clever. She is constantly ignored by her hard working, computer engaged parents, and is often left to fend on her own for entertainment until the start of the new school year. Though to her parents she is quiet and well behaved, Coraline shows us that she has a heart of her own and lots of guts to back her up.






Black Cat – Though rude and sarcastic, the black cat is the best friend Coraline has. He aids her in her journey to the ‘other’ household and proves to be loyal. He holds no name, and only can talk in the ‘other’ world.






‘Other’ Mother – Coraline’s worse nightmare. She is a striking resemblance of Coraline’s actual mother except for her two big black shiny button eyes. She is tall and thin and has long fingers that sound very creepy and monstrous. She has the power to warp and twist things from the actual world to make them a part of the ‘other’ world. She also collects children and hides them behind the mirrors of the ‘other’ household when they are naughty or boring. She eventually steals their souls and refuses to set them free. Coraline is of value to her because of her wit and she actually poses a challenge to her. The more encounters Coraline has with her, the more frightening her appearance becomes. She is also referred to as the beldam.





“Other’ Father – He proves to be the lack of the ‘other’ mother. He tries to save Coraline from the trickery of the ‘other’ mother, but soon gets sucked into her mindset and eventually tries to hurt Coraline.






Other characters can include Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, Mr. Bobo, Coraline’s actual parents and the souls of the three children trapped in the ‘other’ household.






Point of View:





Coraline is told from an omniscient narrator, who tells us the thoughts of all of the characters of the story. The position is unbiased and knows a great deal about each of the other characters, according to C & G.











The themes of Coraline are self worth, appreciation, family love and identity. In the beginning of this story Coraline thinks of herself as a child that is unable to take on the roles of an adult. By the end of her journey and by defeating the ‘other’ mother and ultimately destroying the ‘other’ world, Coraline feels a new sense of self worth. She feels that she can take on numerous tasks due to her recent win.






Being grateful and appreciation can also be seen as themes throughout the novel. Though the ‘other’ household may seem better than the one she lives in, she soon realizes the grass on the other side may not be greener; instead it can sometimes be rotten. Coraline gains a sense of appreciate and gratefulness about her hard working parents. In the middle of the story she even begins to miss them when they disappear. Though our current situation may or may not be the best, it often beats out what could happen.






Another possible theme could also be family love. Coraline emits a great deal of love for her parents and even risks her own to save them. Though family is not always something we appreciate and value, family love proves to be most important in the end.






Lastly, another theme that can be seen in Coraline could be identity. As aforementioned Coraline’s character grows a great deal in the story. She begins as being timid but eventually grows into a heroine that saves her own live and also the lives of others. She gains a great sense of courage and pride when battling the ‘other’ mother and carries that throughout the remainder of the story.








Analysis and Critique








 Literacy and Artistic Effectiveness:





The literary and effectiveness was done very well in this novel. Not only was it an easy read, it was easy to understand and comprehend. The story also was aided by the pictures in the beginning of each chapter that illustrated the happening of the chapter. The author also is very descriptive when writing this text. A great deal of details goes in to describing the characters and the specific events in the story.






Social Relevancy:





This story is socially relevant because it teaches readers to value their families. Though families are not something we chose, we must deal with them and accept and embrace them. When Coraline’s actual parents were kidnapped by her ‘other’ mother, though they ignored her and never payed her any attention, she missed them when they disappeared and wished they would come back as soon as possible. Therefore even if your family isn’t the most ideal, they are still the only one you have and cannot be replaced.






Overt / Hidden Messages:




A hidden message could be seen as to value your family because one day they may not be there anymore. Another message is to not to trust anything that seems too good to be true. Though the ‘other’ household seems great from the outside looking in however it was evident that the ‘other’ mother had ulterior motives in being nice to Coraline.





Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2002. Print.


Galda, Lee. Literature and the Child. 7th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth , 2006. 11. Print.



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