Coraline Quotes

‘Coraline’ by Neil Gaiman is a dark and suspenseful story that is full of mystery. There are several memorable quotes in the novella that span various themes.

Coraline is a brilliant work of children’s literature that captures timeless themes and morals. This is done through unforgettable quotes regarding bravery, imagination, family, independence and quick-wittedness, all of which are major themes in Coraline. The quotes capture the essence of what Neil Gaiman is trying to say through Coraline, which is to be brave in the face of fears and to be careful what you wish for.

Coraline Quotes


Bravery 

One of the most dominant themes in the novella, Coraline, is bravery. Despite her fears and trepidations, Coraline marches forward to meet the Other Mother and her wicked ways. When Coraline sets off to rescue her parents, she recalls a story to the cat about how she and her father were ambushed by a swarm of wasps on a walk. Coraline’s father, unfortunately, dropped his glasses while running away from the swarm, and had to go back and collect them. This is when he tells Coraline that he is scared, but he would still brave the wasps. This, according to Coraline’s father, was true bravery.

And he said that wasn’t brave of him, doing that, just standing there and being stung,” said Coraline to the cat. “It wasn’t brave because he wasn’t scared: it was the only thing he could do. But going back again to get his glasses, when he knew the wasps were there, when he was really scared. That was brave.

Her father’s words had inspired Coraline to face her fears head on, which is why she returns to the parallel universe to rescue her parents from the Other Mother. Although she is incredibly frightened of the evil witch, she decides to be brave to bring her parents back.

You don’t frighten me,” said Coraline, although they did frighten her, very much. “I want my parents back.”

Later in the novella, Coraline plucks up her courage and strikes a bargain with the Other Mother in order to rescue her parents. She tells the beldam that she will successfully find her parents and the souls of the ghost children in exchange for freedom. She also bravely offers herself up to the beldam if she happens to lose the game.

What exactly are you offering?” 

“Me,” said Coraline, and she gripped her knees under the table, to stop them from shaking. “If I lose I’ll stay here with you forever and I’ll let you love me. I’ll be a most dutiful daughter. I’ll eat your food and play Happy Families. And I’ll let you sew your buttons into my eyes.”


Imagination 

Coraline has an extremely active imagination which she uses to amuse herself whenever she is bored. An example of this is when she goes shopping with her mother and wanders off to examine a pair of Wellington boots. When she goes back to her mother, she decides to cook up a story about alien abductions, which was much more exciting than reality.

I was kidnapped by aliens,” said Coraline. “They came down from outer space with ray guns, but I fooled them by wearing a wig and laughing in a foreign accent, and I escaped.”


Family 

Family is extremely significant throughout the novella. In the beginning, Coraline is disappointed and dissatisfied with her parents for their lack of interest in her activities. She wishes for things to be different – a wish that ultimately manifests in the other universe. However, once Coraline’s parents are kidnapped by the other mother, she realizes how much she loves her real parents and she desperately wants them back. As a result, Coraline decides to set off for an adventure to rescue them. She finally understands the importance of family and decides to protect the sanctity of her own family.

I’m going back for them because they are my parents. And if they noticed I was gone I’m sure they would do the same for me.”

As she forays further into the depths of the other universe, Coraline begins to understand that the flaws and perceptions of her parents are what make them unique. She finally realizes that she does not want parents that are “perfect.” Instead, she only wants her parents because she loves and cares for them deeply. This is why Coraline does not fall for the lies and deception of the Other Mother, even when she is promised a happy and perfect life with her. 

Whatever would I have done with your old parents? If they have left you, Coraline, it must be because they became bored of you, or tired. Now, I will never become bored of you, and I will never abandon you. You will always be safe here with me.”

Despite these words, Coraline continues to believe that her parents love her and want her. 

Independence 

Coraline grew up as a self-sufficient child, mainly because her parents were always too busy with their work to spare time for their daughter. However, due to her trials in the parallel universe, Coraline undergoes great growth and development. As a result, she ends up much more independent than she used to be. Left all alone without the support of her parents, Coraline is forced to make “adult-like” decisions throughout her journey. She tries hard to function on her own, especially in the other universe where she ends up making some difficult choices.

She could not wear her pajamas, dressing gown, and slippers during the day, she decided, even if it meant wearing the other Coraline’s clothes.

By the end of the novella, Coraline emerges as a self-assured and independent young girl. She is capable of asserting herself even in the face of her neighbors who are otherwise dismissive of her. Toward the very end, she even convinces Mr. Bobo that her name is not Caroline, as he had been calling her all this time, but Coraline.

It’s Coraline, Mister Bobo,” said Coraline. “Not Caroline. Coraline.”



Quick Wittedness

Coraline shows off her cleverness throughout her adventures in the other world. Just as she was losing hope of finding her parents, she comes up with a brilliant idea to outwit the Other Mother. She suggests that the two of them play a game, and strikes up a bargain with the evil beldam. As Coraline is confident in her abilities as an explorer, she suggests that if she can find her parents and the souls of the ghost children, the Other Mother should let her free. Here, we see how she is quick on her feet in thinking of a solution, especially in a high-stress situation.

But what kind of game shall it be? A riddle game? A test of knowledge or of skill?”

“An exploring game,” suggested Coraline. “A finding-things game.”



FAQs

Is Coraline a kids movie? 

Coraline by Henry Selick is based on the children’s fantasy novella, of the same name, written by Neil Gaiman. As such, Coraline is a kids movie intended for children under 13. However, the movie (much like the novella) can be enjoyed by children and adults alike because of its evergreen themes and characters.

Is Coraline scary for adults? 

Yes, Coraline might prove scary for some adults to read. When talking about the novella, Coraline in an interview, Neil Gaiman mentioned how the story is received by children as an adventurous tale of a brave young girl, while it is received by adults as a creepy horror tale containing several elements of the uncanny. 

Is Coraline suitable for a 6-year-old?

Yes, Coraline is suitable for a 6-year-old. Written by Neil Gaiman for his own daughter, Holly (who was 5 years old when he started writing the book), Coraline is an excellent children’s fantasy literature that teaches young kids age-old lessons of the importance of bravery and family.

Why can the cat talk in Coraline?

Before Coraline discovers the other world, she discovers a black cat in her surroundings. She wishes that the cat could talk to her, which, of course, is not possible in the real world. However, all of Coraline’s wishes come true in the other world which is why the cat can talk in the parallel universe.

About Neesha Thunga K
Neesha graduated in 2020 with a degree in MA English. Before that, she has spent several years teaching English and writing for various organizations. As a lover of English literature, she truly believes that crafting stories through words is the greatest achievement of mankind. She is now pursuing her passion for literature as an Expert on the Book Analysis team.
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