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Coraline book by Neil Gaiman

Novel written by the Neil Gaiman. First published on February 24th 2002.

Awards and Notability Edit

It won the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers. Coraline was made into a 3-D stop-motion film that was acclaimed as The #1 Best Movie Of the Year directed by Henry Selick, The director of The Nightmare Before Christmas. It tells the tale about Coraline Jones and her experience in her new home and a parallel world that she soon discovers is a trap.

Plot Edit

As the tale begins, Coraline and her parents move into a new apartment. Coraline's parents are always busy with their work and pay her little attention. Isolated, Coraline goes off to explore. She meets the other inhabitants of the house, Miss Miriam Forcible and Miss April Spink, two elderly women retired from the stage and an even older man named Mr Bobo, who trains mice to play music. She finds a locked door in the drawing room, though the entrance beyond is bricked up. The next day she takes the key to the door, opens it, and finds a dark corridor leading to an apartment identical to her own. This alternate world is inhabited by her Other Mother and Other Father, who are near-replicas of her real parents, except they have buttons for eyes. These Other parents at first seem more interesting, fun and caring than her real parents. At the day's end, Coraline's Other Mother offers her a chance to stay in this world forever if Coraline will sew buttons over her eyes. Coraline decides she would rather go home, much to the disappointment of her Other Mother.

Upon her return to her apartment, Coraline finds her real parents are missing. They do not return by the next day, and Coraline, discovering they were kidnapped by her Other Mother, resolves to rescue them. Coraline travels again to the Other Mother's world. After angering her Other Mother by refusing to accept gifts or love, she is trapped behind a mirror as punishment. There Coraline meets the souls of three children from different eras whom the Other Mother entrapped then tossed aside when she wearied of them. After the Other Mother decides to take Coraline out of the room, Coraline challenges the Other Mother in a game to find the children's souls and her parents within the Other Parents' world, using her wits and a seeing stone received from her neighbors. Coraline finds the others' souls and escapes to the real world, forcing the door closed on the Other Mother and severing her hand. Back in her apartment, Coraline finds her parents safe and sound.

The next night, Coraline discovers her task is not done. The Other Mother's severed hand, which is still in Coraline's world as she accidentally snapped the Other Mother's hand off while closing the door, attempts to steal the key so the Other Mother can exact her revenge. Coraline lures the hand to a well and tricks it into falling in with the key, ridding the world of the danger of the Other Mother forever.

Characters Edit

  • Coraline Jones – The young heroine and self proclaimed explorer, she is young, clever, curious, resourceful, and brave. Coraline is often irritated by rain, crazy grown-ups (as they all seem to be), and not being taken seriously because of her young age and quiet demeanour, though perhaps her biggest annoyance is that everyone mistakes her name for Caroline (everyone in the real world at least, except the mice and her parents). She also likes apples and limeade, which she finds very curious.
  • Mel Jones – Coraline's mother works at her house on the computer. She is very busy most of the time, and sometimes a little inattentive, but she loves and cares about Coraline. She is married to Mr. Jones, Coraline's father. She is pretty, nice, helpful, and outgoing, though Coraline considers her to be rather boring.
  • Charlie Jones – Coraline's father works at his house on the computer which he spends most of his time on his job. He cares about Coraline very much and is very nice, gentlemanly, handsome, and helpful. But like Coraline's mother, she finds him rather boring.
  • The Cat - Wuss Puss – A black cat from Coraline's world. The cat acts as a mentor to Coraline and guides her through her journey. It claims to have no name, explaining that cats do not need names to tell each other apart. Unlike many of the characters in the novel, it does not have an "other world" counterpart, saying that unlike other creatures cats can "keep themselves together". It moves freely from one world to the next, although it can talk in the Other Mother's world. It is very sarcastic towards Coraline and defiant of the Other Mother, but seems to tremble at the thought of being stuck in the Other Mother's world.
  • The Beldam (Other Mother) – The creature that created much of the 'Other' world for her own entertainment. She is almost identical to Coraline's real mother but taller and thinner, with long black hair that seems to move by itself, black button eyes, paper-white skin, and extremely long, twitchy fingers with long dark red nails. She cannot create, but only copy, twist and change things from the real world when constructing her version of it. She collects children and loves them, with whom she eventually becomes bored or frustrated, and imprisons them behind a magical mirror, slowly sucking the life from them; she intends to do the same with Coraline. She is referred to several times as "the beldam", an archaic word meaning "hag/witch".
  • The Other Father – A creation of the Other Mother, who was used to try to help trick Coraline into staying in the Other Mother's world. The Other Mother ends up punishing him for revealing too much to Coraline by transforming him into a grub-like creature. However even though he is suppose to be one of the Other Mother's minions, he turns out not to be evil and is actually very friendly and timid. He helps Coraline escape back to the real world before being imprisoned in the Other world's basement. As punishment he is morphed into a giant grub insect like creature and the Other Mother takes control of The Other Father's mind. This makes The Other Father completely forget that he helped Coraline in the first place, and is forced to trap Coraline, so she can't win her game. The Other Father Forcefully obeys and tries to hurt Coraline but she eventually closes the Other world's basement's door and leaves the possessed other father trapped and imprisoned.
  • Miss Miriam Forcible and Miss April Spink – A pair of retired actresses who live next door to Coraline. They own several Scottie dogs, and talk in theater jargon, often referencing their time as actresses. They recognize the danger Coraline's in after reading her fortune through tea leaves and give her a stone with a hole in it to help protect her. In the other world they are young, pretty, and perform forever in front of the Scottie dogs, who, in the other world, behave like humans.
  • Mr. Bobinsky – A retired circus performer who live above Coraline's; he is commonly referred to as the Crazy Old Man Upstairs. Over the course of the book he claims to be training mice to perform in a mouse circus, and often brings Coraline messages from the mice, though at first Coraline doubts he even has mice to train, and she does not listen to what the man says was supposed to come from the mice. His counterpart in the other-world trains rats, and is in fact made of rats.
  • The Three Ghost Children – A trio of children who were previously victims of the other mother, two girls and one boy. The boy is described as having a dirty face and red trousers. One of the girls has two butterfly wings, blond hair, and a silver circlet, the other has a brown bonnet and brown dress. They were trapped by the Other Mother at different times before Coraline, and resided in the closet until Coraline found herself in the same closet. She promises to rescue them after hearing about their vulnerability due to their lack of souls. After having their souls restored, they go to the afterlife, but the last Coraline sees of them is in a dream where she picnics with them. Here, she sees their true appearances and they thank her for freeing them from the Other Mother. It is also shown that the winged girl eats honeysuckle.

Book CoversEdit