Compare and contrast the characters in Coraline.

Quick answer:

Characters in Coraline could be compared in terms of their eccentricity, their quirks, and their alienation from reality. The characters could also contrast one another when it comes to their intentions. For example, the other mother might be bizarre and quirky, but she is also odious in a way that the other offbeat characters aren’t.

Expert Answers

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You could start to compare and contrast the cast of characters in Coraline by focusing on Coraline herself. Her parents tend to ignore her, people mispronounce her name, and she doesn’t have many friends. In this sense, Coraline’s character is something of an outsider. She’s alienated.

Coraline’s peripheral status is in keeping with the other characters. You could argue Miss Spink and Miss Forcible are outsiders too. If not outsiders, you could at least say that they’re quite eccentric and peculiar. The same goes for Mr. Bobo. His main occupation—which, according to the narrator, involves “training a mouse circus”—isn’t exactly an everyday job.

Indeed, when you compare the characters, it seems like their respective quirks come together to help create the eerie, fairytale atmosphere of the novel.

Yet some of the characters are more odious than quirky. You might want to compare and contrast the other mother to the aforementioned characters. While the other mother is strange—she has buttons for eyes, for one thing— she’s also sinister, whereas many of the other quirky characters are harmless.

Additionally, you could contrast the other mother to Coraline’s real mother. You could think about why Coraline is enticed by this other mother. You might discuss how Coraline’s other mother gives her what her real one does not.

Lastly, you could mention the cat. You might want to contrast the cat with Coraline’s real parents. In a way, it seems like the cat provides Coraline with more guidance than Mrs. and Mr. Jones.

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