The Story of Coraline(s): A Gothic Coming of Age
Keywords:Gothic, Children's Literature, Coming-of-age, Coraline, Literature
This study deals with Coraline (2002), the novel by Neil Gaiman, and Coraline (2009), the animated adaptation directed by Henry Selick based on Gaiman’s book. While Gothic stories often emphasize and question human morality, children’s literature usually holds a moralizing value. Neil Gaiman’s Coraline presents a story within the genre of children’s literature that seems to be deeply rooted in the Gothic tradition. Some of the fundamental gothic elements in Coraline’s story are the presence of ghosts, grotesque beings, and the existence of a parallel and dark universe that serves as the setting for the story. Coraline deals with anxieties related with personal development, growing up, and the environments that surround her. Gothic content within both the book and the film contribute to the undermining of the idealization of Coraline’s family, her own process of growing up, and her coping with moving to a completely different place. The creation of the gothic world is exploited in both works to represent Coraline’s coming-of-age experience and her conflict with her family. However, despite Selick’s film being a faithful and well-delivered adaptation of Gaiman’s novel, there are considerable differences that affect how the audience interprets Coraline as a character and her story, which this analysis will highlight.
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