Study Guide

Coraline Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

  • In the first sentence, we learn that Coraline has discovered "the door" in her new house. That's all we hear about that for now, but something tells us it will be back.
  • Coraline and her family are renting part of a very old house.
  • Other people live in the house, too. First, there are two elderly roommates, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible (what names!), who used to be actresses.
  • These women have a lot of dogs and they always call Coraline "Caroline." That's kind of annoying.
  • The other neighbor is a weird old man who lives upstairs. He has a mouse circus, supposedly, although Coraline thinks he just made it up (he seems to be a little crazy).
  • Coraline enjoys exploring and she spends a lot of time in the garden at her new home.
  • When Miss Spink and Miss Forcible warn Coraline about a dangerous well (you know, where water comes from), she of course goes to look for it.
  • In her explorations, Coraline also spots a black cat, who seems to be watching her.
  • Coraline keeps herself busy exploring outside for two weeks, but one day it rains, and she's stuck inside. Bo-ring.
  • Both of her parents work from home, and they tell her to go entertain herself: her father suggests she count random things in the house. Hmmm, okay.
  • As she's wandering around the house, Coraline finds a weird door that doesn't go anywhere: it just has a brick wall behind it.
  • Her mom explains that the wall is part of the flat (or apartment) next door. The building used to be one giant house, but now it's a house with a bunch of smaller apartments inside it. Mystery solved.
  • Coraline notices that her mother doesn't re-lock the door after she's opened it to show Coraline. (No need when there's a brick wall behind it, we guess.)
  • That night, her father makes a pretty gross dinner, so Coraline makes herself some microwave pizza. She's pretty self-sufficient it seems.
  • After she goes to bed, Coraline hears a weird scuttling sound in the house; when she looks, she sees a shadow and decides to follow it. (Now we're sure this isn't a good idea.)
  • The shadow shape goes under that door with the brick wall behind it. Hmmm.
  • Coraline turns on the light and doesn't see anything, but the door is now open a tiny crack. Oh well.
  • She goes back to bed and has dreams about the strangest things, like rats singing a crazy song. Their song goes like this:
  • "We are small but we are many/ We are many we are small /We were here before you rose/ We will be here when you fall" (1.83). Kind of spooky, right?

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