Study Guide

The Ocean at the End of the Lane The Supernatural

By Neil Gaiman

The Supernatural

The supernatural is something that appeals to a lot of people—who doesn't like wondering if ghosts exist, or whether vampires sparkle in sunlight. (They obviously don't. Pshaw.). But what makes The Ocean at the End of the Lane even more interesting is how the author chooses to handle all of the otherworldly stuff that occurs. The tone of the story and the nonchalant attitude of the characters lends a realism to the completely unrealistic happenings, leading all of us readers to scratch our heads and think, well, maybe it could have really happened after all.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. Would the Hempstocks be as interesting if they weren't some kind of magical beings? What if Lettie was just an imaginative girl from down the street?
  2. Does Gaiman do his readers a disservice by not explaining the supernatural elements of the story in more detail?
  3. Were you hoping that this theme really had to do with these guys?

Chew on This

This book could have been written without involving the supernatural element at all. Ursula Monkton could just be an abusive adult figure that Lettie and the boy figure out how to overcome.

The supernatural element that makes this book belong to the magical realism genre is a huge part of its appeal.