How Does Gaiman Create a Frightening Atmosphere in the Book Coraline?

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  • Topic: Coraline, Neil Gaiman, Sense
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  • Published : February 9, 2013
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How does Gaiman create a frightening atmosphere in the novel?

Gaiman creates a frightening atmosphere in the novel by using different techniques. In chapter one Coraline’s new home is described in a horror way and is introduced in this quotation: “It was a very old house…” using the phrase “old house” often refers to horror films because the adjective “old” describes the house to have: ghost, cobwebs, peeled painting, sickly green weeds and to be neglected. Gaiman approaches the cat as strange and curious because it says: “…haughty black cat, which would sit on walls and tree stumps and watch her.” The cat is black which symbolises as a witch’s cat because it’s black, which makes the cat seem creepy. Also the cat is vain and proud because it says “haughty”. Describing the cat in this way makes you feel intimated. The quotation “who would sit on walls and tree stumps and watch her” feels like something is going to happen to her and the cat doesn’t want to miss any action because it says “…watch her.”

Gaiman uses the technique personification in this quotation: “The cat shrugged…” to cause the scene to be creepy because cats don’t have shoulders and the cat is acting like a human, so this makes it: scary, strange and different. Also in chapter four he mentions Miss Spink and Miss Forcible being very horrifying in the quote “…thin, and pale, and quite pretty and had black-button eyes.” This quotation has a lot of adjectives including thin and pale which give a very ghostly image for them because pale is very white and so you look like a ghost and you have no soul. Gaiman has put Miss Spink and Miss Forcible with “black-button eyes” because it traps your eyes from showing any emotions and without that you do not have: a soul, character or personality. Gaiman then describes Coraline’s emotions in a different way that makes the atmosphere more frightening. The quotation says “She became certain that there was something in the dark behind her: something very old...