Coraline Metaphors and Similes

A maggot in an apple core (Simile)

When Coraline sees her other mother, she is overcome with feelings of alarm and concern. She explains that there was a "tiny doubt inside her, like a maggot in an apple core." This simile is symbolic, as it further reveals the dynamic between Coraline and her other mother. Throughout the novel, the apple is a symbol for nourishment, comfort, and creation. In this simile, the beldam can be seen as the symbolic representation of the maggot. She invades the lives of good and innocent children and corrupts their lives.

The Fog (Simile)

When Coraline reaches for the stone in her pocket, she feels "as if she had come out of some sort of fog." The entire time that Coraline traverses the other world, her vision is blurry. This obstruction symbolizes the murkiness of the beldam's fabricated reality. Coraline learns to take comfort in small objects and creatures. The stone provides Coraline with a fresh perspective. She is able to feel clarity, and she uses her values to aid her pursuit.

Her other father's face (Simile)

Coraline's other father begins to look less and less like her real father as time progresses. Coraline explains that there was something vague about his face, "like bread dough that had begun to rise, smoothing out the bumps and cracks and depressions." In comparing her father's face to bread, Coraline returns to the motif of food and its significance throughout the novel. Coraline is able to see something human in this inhumane figure, which prompts her to feel sympathetic towards his character. However, the other father uses Coraline's sympathy to further manipulate her. Eventually, he attacks the young girl and Coraline must strategize about how to evade this danger.

The trapdoor (Metaphor)

Coraline notices that one of the loose floorboards in the house leads to a trapdoor. The trapdoor is a metaphor for the secrecy and deception that is omnipresent in the other world. Things are never as they appear, and Coraline must learn to distinguish appearance from reality. Coraline must be hyper-aware that she could end up trapped in the other world forever if she does not confront her fears.

The other mother (Simile)

Coraline describes her other mother as looking very similar to Coraline's mother in the real world. The two differ in a few ways: the other mother has buttons in the place of her eyes and long, thin fingers. Coraline explains that the beldam's skin is "white as paper." In characterizing the other mother through similes, Coraline provides the reader with a vivid visual depiction of the beldam's terrifying appearance. This description further dehumanizes and vilifies the other mother.