Bravery and Courage in Neil Gaiman's Coraline - Free Paper Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  744 Words
Date:  2023-11-27

Coraline, a novel by Neil Gaiman, has many themes: love, family, fear, bravery, wishing, and wisdom. This paper explores the theme of bravery and courage. Gaiman unravels bravery as voluntarily facing challenges directly, sometimes several times, even though the more comfortable option is to avoid one's fears. He implies that fear creates more room for bravery hence giving it more meaning.

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Coraline tells a story of how she went exploring with her father one day and was advised to dash abruptly. She and her father had disrupted a wasp habitat, and Coraline's dad stayed back to give her a chance to get away. Her dad’s glasses dropped as he ran and expected to return to get them before he overlooked where they had fallen off. The fact that he went back to get his glasses, knowing very well what awaited, is considered bravery (Gaiman 34). Coraline defines bravery as having the courage to do the right thing, regardless of how scared one is. Coraline’s father teaches her how to be brave at an early age, which came to help her later in life.

After moving into a new house, Coraline spends most of her time exploring the garden and the tennis court. Her parents work with computers at home and hardly give her any attention, so she has to find ways to keep herself busy. Coraline’s curiosity and willingness to explore depicts courage and bravery. She once found a door that initially had a brick wall, but later on, she discovered it had a passage during her adventures. She demonstrates bravery by going through this door even though she as warned against it. This door led to another parallel world that was very alluring at first, but which came to be where she would encounter her other mother, who held her parents and other ghosts hostage.

When Coraline goes to save her parents from her other mother, she uses her wits and proposes a game. She suggests that if she discovers her folks and the different children's spirits, her other mother will release them. When asked what she had to offer when she lost the game, Coraline responded: "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 and I’ll let you love me" (Gaiman 52). Coraline depicts fear when she grips her knees under the table. Regardless of her fear, she chooses to put her life on the line by offering herself to save her parents and the children. This teaches us that no matter how trapped we feel or scared, we are to face a situation, we should always find creative ways to counter the challenges.

"Normally, on the night before the first day of the term, Coraline was apprehensive and nervous. But, she realized there was nothing left about school that could scare her anymore." (Gaiman 85). Because of her other mother's encounter, Coraline attained a new level of confidence that she did not usually have before. This conveys that in facing our everyday situations and challenges bravely, we gain a form of assurance that gives us the courage to meet almost any situation that we may come across in the future.

Coraline keeps assuring herself of her bravery multiple times when she is in the process of saving her parents and the ghosts. Whenever she gets too scared, she affirms to herself with complimentary messages, which reflects in reality by actually giving her the courage to go on. "You can, said Coraline. Be brave” (Gaiman, 61). "She hugged herself and told herself that she was brave" (Gaiman 62). This emphasizes the need to keep reminding ourselves of how brave and healthy we are, even though we do not feel it at the moment. This will give us the strength we need to go on and counter whatever challenges we face.


In conclusion, bravery is portrayed as relating to actions more compared to the feeling itself of bravery. Throughout her encounter with her other mother, Coraline experiences fear and doubt but chooses to do the right thing, no matter how hard, to free her parents. To succeed, we must be willing to put in a lot of work and act on what seems right as soon as we can.

Work Cited

Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition. (n.d.). Retrieved from, Neil. Coraline. HarperCollins, 2002.

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Bravery and Courage in Neil Gaiman's Coraline - Free Paper Sample. (2023, Nov 27). Retrieved from

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