Looking Into Gaiman's "Coraline"

Essay by ginxedHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2009

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"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."--- C. S. LewisCoraline is a contemporary fairy tale. It exudes an aura of magic just like the atmosphere The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe clasps about its readers - falling into a fantasy world where feelings of fear and wonder are simultaneously awakened.

With Coraline, I found fear above every other emotion that there was to feel. It isn't the same kind of fear one gets when reading cheap thriller novels or anything like that. This simple story written by Neil Gaiman stirred up terror and apprehension that made me question the way I did things. I felt that if I did not do things right, I might lose people important to me, especially my parents.

Most teens, I've observed, pass through a phase where they find their parents to be a bother and so hearing them say things like, "I hate my dad/mom!", "Why can't they just leave me alone?!", or "They don't understand!" doesn't surprise me much anymore.

I've said such things myself before, but in reality, everyone knows these statements are never really meant. During a time when I was still in this phase, I was a freshman. A senior, Tinka Herrera, introduced me to Neil Gaiman, and I found Coraline.

Coraline has inspired me to look at my parents in a different light. I found a child-like anxiety that I thought I've already lost within the pages of its stark white pages. Even though I was at an age of reason, I was troubled that there might really be a world like the one shown in the book. The scenes described were so simple that they formed vivid images in my head, particularly, that scene where Coraline looks...