Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Coraline is one of my favourite children’s/young adult books because it deals with the element of the taboo and how writers push boundaries of what is acceptable in a young readers book. It shows a young girl who is bored with her home life going on an adventure into ‘the otherworld’ which then causes problems for the main character Coraline as it becomes a whole other world and family for her to contend with. The creepiness of the other mother and Gaiman’s fascination for the unknown and uncanny presents itself within this book. The buttons for eyes and fingernails are a creepy element that Gaiman uses in his text, ‘Only her skin was white as paper. Only she was taller and thinner. Only her fingers were too long, and they never stopped moving, and her dark-red fingernails curved and sharp’ (38) this quote shows the uncanniness of the other mother in Coraline and how Gaiman used small descriptions of his characters to slowly bring out the fear in children.

Neil Gaiman uses weirdness and the Uncanny to divert the reader from the main creepiness of his text. Along with the literary devices and language used Coraline and other books like it all have a hero within the text who will defeat the creepy, uncanny or fearful within the text. Which is more than likely a monster with the guise of something human.

I love Gaiman’s perspective on the Children’s novel and his stories bring out a side to me that is intrigued as a writer and a reader to create something just as fearful and exciting. Most children love to be scared as long as it is on a page in text.


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