Be careful what you wish for.  It’s an admonition that for centuries has been dealt out by tarot reading gypsies, brewed from the breakfast silt of tea leaves, or more simply, gleaned directly from the skin of the would be Aladdin by purveyors of palmistry.  For millennia it has served as a literary device: from Odysseus  and the temptations of Circe, Trojan prince Paris’s catastrophic pride, down to the nightmare realisation of Victor von Frankenstein’s dream, and beyond, characters throughout history (both fictional and non) have constantly acted upon their desires with a thought only for the reward, sparing none for the consequences that their actions will bring them.

‘Be careful what you wish for’ can be found in the oldest literature right through to the most modern because it works; indeed desire is, hermeneutically, the ultimate cause to the effect of the Present: toxic was the apple for both Eve and Snow White.

‘Be careful what you wish for’ is a lesson that, if unlearned, can lead to all manner of turmoil.  We are fortunate in that we are provided with endless pedagogical instruction with just this message at its heart.  Most recently, there has been the stop-motion animation film, Coraline.

Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name by Henry Selick, Coraline is beautifully crafted: dazzling when it’s bright, eccentric when it’s odd, truly menacing when it’s scary, and absolutely charming for its entirety.

Read the rest of this entry »