What relevance do the buttons (button-eyes) play in Coraline as it never appears to be defined. For those of you who have not yet seen the film, then please do not read any further as the plot will be revealed. For those of you who have seen it, then please continue to read.

My thought was that it was because the Other Mother made the other world and thus used buttons as her 'signature', if you like?

Can anyone clear this up?


Watched this movie a 1,000 times. My daughter loves it and watched it over and over again.

The eyes are the window to the soul, and once she has your eyes she has your soul.

The other three children let the mother sew buttons into their eyes, and she was able to keep them in the other world. In the original book the mother eats the three children, and their spirits are trapped. The children warn Coraline not to let her sew buttons in her eyes, and Coraline helps free their souls at the end.

I don't think there is really anything deeper in the meaning then that. If Coraline lets the mother sew the buttons into her eyes, then she is becoming compliant and accepting of the new world she's in.

  • 1
    Thank you for a wonderful answer! I have read the book and the watched the film (in that order) and there are some slight differences - as you mentioned, the Other Mother eating the other three children, among other things - however, I found both to be very enjoyable; there was just no explanation with regards to the button eyes in either format. Thanks once again! – SnookerFan May 12 '12 at 0:03

Button eyes are most often used on dolls, just as is shown in the introduction to the film. The Other Mother is a being who derives most of her power to "spin" the other world as she pleases from the domination of other living things; she primarily sees human beings as playthings when they're not nourishment. Allowing her to sew buttons into your eyes is another way of saying you allow her to take control of you and make you into an object for her amusement, eventually to be used up and discarded when she tires of you just as a child tires of a toy.


Gaiman spoke about the significance of the buttons in an series of interviews

  • In-universe, the buttons indicate acceptance of the other world

It seems like Other Mother would have had Coraline, if she just hadn’t insisted on sewing buttons on her eyes. Why didn’t she just let that one go?

Neil: You would have to ask her. [Laughs] That’s definitely part of it. Coraline has to say yes. When I was writing it, I liked the idea that Coraline was going to have to give into this thing. There’s a point where you give in. Either you give in because you are attracted by all of the beauty, or you give in because you’re terrified. In neither case does Coraline give in. She’s smart and she keeps fighting. - Screencrave

  • Because button eyes are cool (and a bit scary)

There’s one other difference, too. Somehow, the most haunting image for adults doesn’t seem to phase most kids. “Kids tend to find button-eyed people kind of cool,” he says. “It’s just buttons. It’s a goofy, silly thing. Adults tend to find button-eyed people really, really disturbing.” - TheConsumption

  • Because it freaks adults out

Gaiman: So far, I haven’t run into any kids that have problems with buttons for eyes. They have dolls with buttons for eyes and they don’t really have a problem with that. Adults get hugely freaked out by buttons for eyes. Just in terms of things that creep them out, that gets under their skin. You put a kid and an adult next to each other and you say, “Ok, guys. People with buttons for eyes?” The kids go “cool” and the adults go “oooooo.” I get letters from schools every week with drawings and the kids have an enormous amount of fun drawing people with buttons for eyes. - AnotherworldBlog


It is said that the eyes are the window to ones soul. So by the Other Mother taking the childrens eyes and sewing buttons there instead is a way for her to keep their souls with her and therefore trapped in the other world. this is why they are suddenly released when the "eyes" are taken out of the Other World. The Other Mother eats them because they are her prey. The buttons are just a way to give the children "New" eyes and are a way for her to entrap them and enslave them for all of eternity.


The sewing of the buttons into the children's eyes resembles two different thing's. What they want you to think is that Coraline is just suppose to accept the other mother and the world so she can eat her, but what this is really representing is part of the new world order or in other words the illuminati and how they try to when we are very young 'sewing button's' into our eyes so we can't see what they don't want us to see. As the saying goes 'the best place to hide something is in plain sight. But don't just take it from me research it yourself, that the problem with some people these days they don't bother looking into things that will take somebodies word for, just don't do that! Some documentary on this are 'zeitgeist' and also 'kymatica'.

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