The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juster
The Phantom Tollbooth Education Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Words and numbers are of equal value, for, in the cloak of knowledge, one is warp and the other woof. It is no more important to count the sands than it is to name the stars. Therefore, let both kingdoms live in peace." (6.20)
Rhyme and Reason are punished for being reasonable and fair. They offer a compromise, which pleases no one. Both King Azaz and the Mathemagician don't want to hear that "words and numbers" need each other. They each want to hear that the one they prefer is the best. But Rhyme and Reason emphasize that knowledge needs both equally.
"In this box are all the words I know," he said. "Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is use them well and in the right places." (8.64)
It's funny – at first this box might seem like an amazing and magical gift. King Azaz certainly thinks it is. And the word-box will certainly come in handy for Milo in the Mountains of Ignorance. But we all have access to a gift like this any time we want. All we have to do is look in the dictionary, right?
"What's a Dodecahedron?" inquired Milo, who was barely able to pronounce the strange word.
"See for yourself," he said, turning around slowly. "A Dodecahedron is a mathematical shape with twelve faces." (14.13-14)
When the Dodecahedron introduces himself to Milo, Tock, and the Humbug, he emphasizes that, in Digitopolis (and perhaps throughout the Lands Beyond), education is built into life and names – and who people really are. His name is the Dodecahedron because he is a Dodecahedron, which gives Milo and the others a built-in lesson in geometry. This would be like saying Milo is named Milo because he is a Milo.