Classing Coraline: An Intersectional Look at Class and Age in Neil Gaiman’s Novella
Keywords:Coraline, Neil Gaiman, Children's literature, Horror, Classism
Discussion surrounding Neil Gaiman’s novella, Coraline (2002), has largely focused on psychoanalytic and feminist theories, centered on the gendered antagonism presented as the titular character fights her “other mother” by the end of the story. Scholars have often overlooked an underlying issue that Coraline faces: her family’s lower-class status. My argument illuminates the heavy impact that classism has on the family dynamic within the novella, specifically the significance of working from home, which both of her parents do. I will demonstrate how the text fits into the general cultural zeitgeist around the “work from home'' dynamic as it developed at the turn of the twenty-first century, especially the challenge it presents to the historical separation of “work” and “home.” In doing so, I examine the acceptance of class hierarchy as the border that the story places between childish immaturity and readiness for adulthood.