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In Coraline by Neil Gaiman , Coraline tells the cat a story from when she was younger. She went on a walk with her father, when suddenly, her father tells Coraline to run. They had stepped on a wasp nest, and her father let himself get stung so Coraline could...

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In Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Coraline tells the cat a story from when she was younger. She went on a walk with her father, when suddenly, her father tells Coraline to run. They had stepped on a wasp nest, and her father let himself get stung so Coraline could run away. After he ran, he dropped his glasses and needed to return to get them before he forgot where they were. Coraline tells the cat:

"He said that he wasn’t scared when he was standing there and the wasps were stinging him and hurting him and he was watching me run away. Because he knew he had to give me enough time to run, or the wasps would have come after both of us . . . 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."

The cat asks her why that was brave of him, and Coraline answers, "Because . . . when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”

Coraline defines bravery as choosing to do something in spite of being scared. Coraline demonstrates this definition of bravery by going back to save her parents from the other mother.

We see how Coraline is scared, but she does it anyway. The other mother asks her:

"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 . . ."

In this passage, Coraline's shaking knees shows us she is frightened. But she grabs them to stop the shaking and proceeds with the game anyway. Coraline follows her definition of bravery.

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Coraline defines bravery in the following way:

Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. Being brave means you are scared, really scared, badly scared, and you do the right thing anyway.

In other words, being brave is related to what you do, not how you feel. Coraline openly admits that she's scared, but that doesn't prevent her from doing the right thing, which is what really matters. Coraline has every right to be scared given the many creepy things she comes across in her adventures. Dog bats, a slug in an egg-case, and a horrible, shapeless grub with twig-like hands—anyone would be petrified at encountering such hideous creatures. But Coraline doesn't let her understandable fears hold her back. She stays positive in the face of this grotesque parade of horrors. Despite her tender years, Coraline is already mature and wise enough to know what needs to be done. And although the prospect of having to save her parents from the evil clutches of the Other Mother fills her with dread and fear, she doesn't hesitate to make the attempt, proving once more her enormous bravery.

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