Extraordinary Navigators:  An Examination of Three Heroines in Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s <u>Coraline</u>, <u>The Wolves in the Walls</u>, and <u>MirrorMask</u>

  • Danya David University of British Columbia


Few author/illustrator teams have rendered a child’s journey through the dark world with such psychological and emotional complexity as the duet of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.  Their stories are as eerie, scary, and thrilling for the child reader as they are for the adult.  But more impressive than their rendering of ghastly fantasy worlds is their creation of the intrepid heroines who navigate them. With their novella Coraline, their picturebook The Wolves in the Walls, and their illustrated film script MirrorMask, Gaiman and McKean present their readers with three wildly courageous, loyal, resourceful, and emotionally strong female protagonists, who are resolved to rescue their families and homes from chaos and evil. Thrown into realms of distortion and illusion, Coraline, Lucy, and Helena glean information from their intuition and dreaming, and skillfully manipulate art, language, and narrative, in order to discern, define, and reclaim borders. Ultimately, these powerful heroines navigate and triumph over sinister worlds.

Author Biography

Danya David, University of British Columbia
Danya David has a B.A. from McGill University in English Literature and Cultural Studies, as well as a teaching degree from the University of Toronto with a specialization in deaf education. She was a panelist at the first annual Graduate Studies Interdisciplinary Conference at UBC, and reviews books for CM Online Magazine. Danya is currently completing her masters in Children's Literature at the University of British Columbia, focussing her research on Jewish content in graphic novels. She currently teaches at the Centre for Intercultural Communication at UBC
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