Coraline Essay Questions

  1. 1

    In what way is Coraline like the traditional child hero of a novel? In what way is she different?

    Coraline has many similarities with other children heroes. She is imaginative, curious, and brave. However, Coraline turns the genre on its head by being a brave and adventurous female protagonist. The reader is prompted to recall other heroines throughout literary history, such as Pippi Longstocking and Lucy Pevensey from The Chronicles of Narnia. Coraline is bold and adventurous, and she does not allow people's judgments of her girlhood to limit the bounds of her exploration. Coraline acknowledges her fear, but she does not let her fear control her. Instead, she uses fear to motivate her to succeed.

    Coraline is different from the way she is treated and considered by others. Her courage is mostly internal, and she does not receive much encouragement from the adults in her life.

  2. 2

    Who are the ghost children, and why are they important in the novella?

    After she is sent to the corridor as a means of punishment, Coraline encounters three distinct ghost children. The boy is outspoken and charismatic, while one of the girls is reserved and mature. The third girl, who seems to possess a fairy-like quality to her, is Coraline's favorite of the bunch. Interestingly, the three ghost children bear resemblance to Coraline herself. Coraline is both outspoken and mature, and she has an “otherworldly” and fantastic element as well. Perhaps these three ghost children are mere reflections of the different, but equally significant, parts of Coraline.

  3. 3

    The "other mother" is often compared in the novel to a spider. Why is the significance of this comparison?

    The "other mother" acts like a spider in the way she behaves towards others. Initially, she inspires intrigue in onlookers. She is attractive and beautiful, and people are drawn to her. Like a spider, the other mother capitalizes on this initial intrigue and traps those who develop an interest in her. Like a spider's web, the beldam has intricately woven another world that is impossible to escape from.

  4. 4

    What is the role of the black cat in the novel?

    In the other world, Coraline encounters a sassy black cat. Although black cats typically symbolize danger and misfortune, the black cat in Coraline is an ironic interpretation of this canonical character. As Coraline continues her journey in the other world, the black cat is a source of comfort. In addition, the cat is an ally and confidant as Coraline fights against oppressive forces. In this way, the cat is an essential character in the story.

  5. 5

    In what ways is Coraline a relatable character?

    Coraline’s emotions make her extremely relatable. Although she finds herself in fantastic situations, her feelings of fear and vulnerability make her human. While Coraline has always seemed mighty and strong, the audience is forced to remember that she is just a child who needs love from her caregivers; she is not yet ready to navigate the world alone. When Coraline begins to cry upon returning to her empty house, the reader is reminded of her helplessness and desperation. Coraline's relatability is essential to making her a realistic and dependable character.