Coraline Study Guide

Coraline is the first children's novella by British fantasy writer Neil Gaiman. The novel takes its name from the story's young, female protagonist. After moving to a new home, Coraline acquaints herself with her eccentric neighbors and explores her surroundings. One day, Coraline observes a strange door in her apartment that appears to lead to a bricked-up passageway. Later, Coraline unlocks the door and realizes that the bricks have disappeared. Inside the corridor is a sinister world that mirrors her own. She encounters her "Other Mother" and "Other Father," who want Coraline to replace her eyes with black buttons in order to keep her with them forever. Coraline must face her fears and confront the Other world in order to save her parents and return to her previous life.

In interviews, Gaiman revealed that Coraline's name was created accidentally. While writing the first drafts of his story, Gaiman accidentally typed "Coraline" instead of the initial name of the protagonist, "Caroline." Surprised by the charm of the fictionalized name, Gaiman aimed to write about the unusual life of "Coraline." Following its publication in 2002, Coraline was praised for its originality and inventiveness. It has been compared to C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Gaiman has received global recognition for Coraline. The novella has been awarded the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers, the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella, and the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novella. Following Coraline's publication, Gaiman was approached by numerous film production companies to adapt the story for the screen. Gaiman retained creative control during the story's adaptation, and he eventually chose to partner with Henry Selick to create a stop-motion production. The film was released in 2009 and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 82nd Academy Awards. The story has also been adapted for other mediums, including comic books and video games. In 2018, London's Barbican Centre premiered an opera based on the novella.