Children are told from a young age that “grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”In the novel Coraline, Gaiman takes that saying and turns it into an adventure to show to children the truth behind the saying. Gaiman also incorporates children’s need to escape reality into an adventure.
Coraline constantly complains of boredom and not getting enough attention. However, when she goes into the “other world” and meets her “other parents” she realizes that she doesn’t want the constant attention or even the love of her other mother. Coraline’s other mother wanted to love her but her love came with a price that Coraline just couldn’t accept letting go, her freedom. Her real mother’s love is something she had taken for granted not realizing it was real unconditional love. Everything she took for granted made her want to find elsewhere to be, but once she got elsewhere those were the things that she wanted to get back to.
Coraline and Alice’s curiosity and boredom leads them to find themselves entering a different world. Their new worlds seem like fairytales, Alice with the queens and kings and then Coraline with the black cat and scary other parents. Coraline new world is obviously much darker than the one Alice enters, but both have adventures and learn lessons from their time in their other worlds. Coraline realizes how good her own world was and all the small things she took for granted. In Coraline’s other world, she is told she may have whatever she desires, but it occurs to her that when you get everything you could ever want nothing really has meaning anymore.
Coraline doesn’t only have the characteristics given to other girl characters in other books. She displays her wits along with her bravery and courage. In other books, we see the girl taking on a nurturing role which is still apparent at times too. For example, when Coraline is locked in the mirror with other children she tries to comfort them (83). Also when she returns to the house with the marbles and the cat, Coraline reassures the cat that everything will be fine (130). To offset this, Coraline refuses to show any fear (61). Her courage and bravery are more abundant throughout the book which helps to neutralize the gender stereotypes that were so prevalent in the other books we read.