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The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth


by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth Exploration Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

It was a beautiful map, in many colors, showing principal roads, rivers and seas, towns and cities, mountains and valleys, intersections and detours, and sites of outstanding interest both beautiful and historic.

The only trouble was that Milo had never heard of any of the places it indicated, and even the names sounded most peculiar. (1.25-26)

At first glance this map seems like any other. It's got all the major landmarks you could want, it shows the natural and man-made parts of the area, and it points out the places you're most likely to want to go. But, as the book says, "the only trouble" with the map is the fact that it maps out a totally unrecognizable area. It's full of places he's "never heard of." But this makes us all the more eager to explore it, right?

Quote #2

"Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you're going. Of course, some people never go beyond Expectations, but my job is to hurry them along whether they like it or not." (2.13)

This quotation could apply almost as well to the theme "Versions of Reality" as it does to "Exploration." That's because, even though this character is describing a place that only literally exists in the Lands Beyond, "Expectations" does seem like a state of mind rather than a real place. But in the Lands Beyond, Expectations becomes a literal place – a spot on the map – instead of a thought process people have to go through.

Quote #3

"Then one day a small ship appeared on the Sea of Knowledge. It carried a young prince seeking the future. In the name of goodness and truth he laid claim to all the country and set out to explore his new domain." (6.2)

Notably, just like the European guys who took over the New World, this young prince "laid claim" to the Lands Beyond without considering the thoughts and feelings of those who already lived there. By the time characters like Milo arrive, all those natives are the demons who've been pushed back to live in the Mountains of Ignorance, where they seem pretty ticked off.

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