"In danger? thought Coraline to herself. It sounded exciting. It didn't sound like a bad thing. Not really."
Coraline is so bothered by her mundane life that danger is thrilling and tempting. This perspective prompts Coraline to initially find the other world appealing. At first, Coraline is unable to understand the threat that the other world presents to her reality. As time passes, Coraline learns to treasure the security of her daily life and challenge herself in ways that are safer for herself and her family.
"Coraline shook her head. 'Why don't you play with me?' she asked. 'Busy,' he said. 'Working,' he added. He still hadn't turned around to look at her."
Coraline is frustrated with how her parents treat her. Coraline consistently feels ignored and forgotten by her mother and father, and she desperately searches for distractions from this emotional neglect. When Coraline visits the other world, she gains a different perspective on her parent's behavior. Instead of seeing her mom and dad maliciously, Coraline understands that they may just demonstrate their love in different, more indirect ways.
"Coraline hesitated. She turned back. Her other mother and her other father were walking towards her, holding hands. They were looking at her with their black button eyes."
Coraline has fallen for the trap that her other mother has planted. In the other world, Coraline is witness to the affection shared by her other parents. The affection and attention appeal to Coraline, and she is tempted to stay in the other world forever. This quote also demonstrates the irony of the situation, as these parents do not look at Coraline lovingly. Rather, they see the protagonist as prey. This image further highlights the themes of illusion, deception, and appearance vs. reality throughout the novel.
"She walked into the drawing room and looked at the door. She had the feeling that the door was looking at her, which she knew was silly, and knew on a deeper level was somehow true."
Although Coraline is young, she possesses a sense of intuition that transcends her age. Coraline is aware that the other world is a threat, and she must grapple with this fear when she attempts to relax in her real home. This quote demonstrates Coraline's ability to distinguish her nuanced understanding of her reality. Although she understands that it is literally impossible to have a door look at someone, she is simultaneously able to evaluate how this analogy can be interpreted outside of the literal sense. In this way, Coraline demonstrates her intellectual and sensitive sides.
"I will be brave, thought Coraline. No, I am brave."
Coraline speaks to herself in order to will her behavior into existence. This quote clearly demonstrates the theme of bravery in the novel. It also represents Coraline's ability to be self-reflective and her ultimate reliance on herself in her situation. As Coraline grows throughout the novel, we understand that she interprets and personifies bravery in different ways. Coraline's self-confidence ultimately allows her to succeed in the face of forces that conspire against her.
"'Nothing to find here,' said the cat. 'This is just the outside. The part of the place she hasn't bothered to create."
Although initially stand-offish, the cat becomes Coraline's ally and accomplice throughout the novel. The cat provides valuable information about the background and the creation of the other world. The cat's knowledge prompts Coraline to better understand the other mother and her powerful, manipulative tendencies. The cat provides Coraline with a sense of comfort and companionship in the face of adversity.
"Somewhere inside her, Coraline could feel a huge sob welling up. And then she stopped it, before it came out. She took a deep breath and let it go."
Coraline must put aside her various emotions in order to focus on the grave reality. Coraline's ability to compartmentalize and process these feelings demonstrates her emotional maturity and her understanding of the circumstances she is in. This coping mechanism is a great strength. Coraline is ultimately able to succeed because she keeps her feelings in check while she is under pressure.
"You know that I love you."
The beldam says on more than one occasion that she loves Coraline. After analyzing her behavior and her overall character, it is clear that the other mother is merely using love as a manipulation tactic against Coraline. The beldam wants Coraline to believe that she is acting out of love, like a real mother would. However, this situation could not be farther from the truth. The other mother merely wants Coraline's trust so that she can take advantage of the young protagonist.
"You've put her quite out of sorts. And when she gets out of sorts, she takes it out on everybody else. It's her way."
Coraline finds the other father hidden in a dark corridor underneath a floorboard. He appears pathetic and helpless. The other father's vulnerability is meant to elicit a sympathetic reaction from Coraline. However, he soon attacks the protagonist. In this quote, he explains the evil nature of the other mother. It is clear that, like all supervillains, she deflects her feelings of inadequacy onto others instead of confronting her issues head-on.
"'I'll get us both home. I said I would. I promise.' She felt the cat relax ever so slightly in her arms."
Although Coraline is in a scary and vulnerable situation, she finds comfort in caring for others. In this way, the cat is an important character in the novel. The cat serves as a companion and friend for Coraline during her darkest moments.
Coraline Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Coraline is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.