by Neil Gaiman
Coraline Theme of Family
Coraline's parents are really busy and tend to ignore her; she's often left alone to entertain herself and even take care of herself. That doesn't sound like the best family set-up. But then Coraline discovers an alternate set of parents who pay her tons of attention and cook her delicious food. Sounds like a good trade, right? Well, Coraline quickly figures out that it's a rotten deal. Her own parents might have their flaws, but they're still her parents. And Coraline loves them enough to fight hard to get them back from the cruel other mother. Coraline teaches us that, when it comes down to it, family is irreplaceable.
Questions About Family
- Be honest: did you think the other parents were kind of awesome at first, or did you realize how creepy they were from the start? Why?
- What clues do we get about the other mother that make Coraline distrust her from the start?
- Coraline takes care of herself pretty well after her parents first disappear. What does this tell us about her family life and how Coraline might be growing up?
- What sort of family dynamics do Miss Spink and Miss Forcible have? Are they friends, or rivals, or both? Do they act like sisters?
Chew on This
Coraline gets annoyed with her parents, like a normal kid, but in reality, she has a pretty awesome family situation. She should feel lucky.
Coraline isn't really a fairy tale because Coraline's family dynamics aren't magically made perfect, even after she survives her other world adventure.