The Phantom Tollbooth
Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"You will, of course, need a guide," said the king, "and, since he knows the obstacles so well, the Humbug has cheerfully volunteered to accompany you."
"Now see here," cried the startled bug, for that was the last thing in the world he wanted to do. (8.66-67)
The king traps the Humbug into going on the quest through clever wordplay. In fact, in Dictionopolis, it seems like words are always ensnaring people. When we read this quote, we can't help but think of Milo's "sentence" in Chapter 5.
All the flowers suddenly appeared black, the gray rocks became a lovely soft chartreuse, and even peacefully sleeping Tock changed from brown to a magnificent ultramarine. Nothing was the color it should have been, and yet, the more he tried to straighten things out, the worse they became.
"I wish I hadn't started," he thought unhappily as a pale-blue blackbird flew by. "There doesn't seem to be any way to stop them." (11.12-13)
Milo is trapped by his own bad decision. He made the overconfident error of thinking he could conduct the sunrise. Once he started, he just couldn't stop. He probably should have thought that one through, but, hey, we all make mistakes. Hopefully Milo will learn from this one.
"You must visit the Soundkeeper and bring from the fortress one sound, no matter how small, with which to load our cannon. For, if we can reach the walls with the slightest noise, they will collapse and free the rest. It won't be easy, for she is hard to deceive, but you must try." (12.47)
All the sounds of this region have been captured and locked away in a fortress. So, even though the people are free, they're unable to talk aloud or to make any sounds at all. So, how free can they really be?