Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Neil Gaiman's Coraline. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Coraline: Plot Summary
Coraline: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Coraline: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Neil Gaiman
Historical Context of Coraline
Other Books Related to Coraline
- Full Title: Coraline
- When Written: 1990s
- Where Written: England and Wisconsin
- When Published: 2002
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Children’s literature; novella; horror; fantasy
- Setting: England
- Climax: After rescuing her parents, saving the souls of the lost children, and outwitting her mysterious “other mother,” Coraline makes a mad dash home from the other mother’s realm.
- Antagonist: The Other Mother
- Point of View: Third-person
Extra Credit for Coraline
Born of a Typo. Throughout the novel, Coraline grows increasingly frustrated as her new neighbors repeatedly call her “Caroline.” In fact, when Gaiman sat down to draft the story that would become Coraline, he meant to type the name Caroline but spelled it incorrectly. Rather than changing the name back, Gaiman found himself charmed by the misspelling, and decided to tell the story of a little girl with a peculiar name.
Highly Adaptable. Though Coraline’s most well-known adaptation is no doubt the 2009 feature film produced by stop-motion studio Laika and starring Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher, Gaiman’s seminal children’s novella has been adapted for several other mediums in the years since its publication. In 2008, a comic illustrated by Sandman artist P. Craig Russell and lettered by Todd Klein was published. In 2009, a musical penned by The Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt premiered in New York City—the production has gone on to have premieres in San Francisco, Chicago, and Edmonton, Canada. In 2017, The Simpsons even spoofed Coraline in the “Coralisa” segment of the episode “Treehouse of Horror XXVIII”—Neil Gaiman himself provided the voice of the Simpsons’ cat in the episode.