When discussing several works this semester, we have noted a common theme across many. That being, moving from the security of home to fantasy adventures then back to home. This theme has been present in the majority of the books we have read, including: Where the Wild Things Are, Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, Peter and Wendy, and, the most recent edition to the list, The Phantom Tollbooth. Looking back on Coraline and its entirety, I noticed that this theme holds true yet again.
Thinking of the protagonist in each work, I began to notice how the characters react to the vast difference between reality and fantasy? Looking at young Coraline’s story in particular, I couldn’t help but notice that Milo’s was somewhat parallel. We are presented with a young, rather native character who seems to be uninterested by the world around them. They see reality as dull and mundane, and are constantly seeking adventure, escapes, or an exploration, as Coraline puts it. To take it a bit further, although Milo’s family is never mentioned, Coraline seems somewhat bored with the life her family lives on a day-to-day basis.
It is not until Coraline unlocks the door in the drawing room, and uncovers the “other world” in the empty flat, that she realizes how important the comforts of home really are to her. At first, she seems to be okay with this new territory, entranced by her “other mother” and “other father.” After spending some time there, and coming home to realize her parents are been taken, she realizes that the adventurous fantasies she longed for are not as nice as they appear to be on paper. We talked in class on Tuesday about the argument of using fantasy to escape reality, but I feel as though, for Coraline, it is fantasy that she wishes to escape from. She longs to save her parents, and the three children, from captivity, and resume life in the comforts of her own home.
After putting up quite the fight, she returns home victorious. It is here that I noticed another parallel, specifically to Milo’s return home in The Phantom Tollbooth. Both characters seem more enlightened in a sense. They no longer take the comforts of home for granted. What they would find otherwise dull and unexciting, they view in a new light. When looking out the window, they both notice the beauty of nature and what their world has to offer. I think both these books seem to hone on the fact that sometimes it takes leaving your home to truly appreciate how special it really is. Both characters return more settled, appreciative, and aware of the benefits of their surroundings.