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The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth


by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"Ordinance 175389-J: It shall be unlawful, illegal, and unethical to think, think of thinking, surmise, presume, reason, meditate, or speculate while in the Doldrums. Anyone breaking this law shall be severely punished!" (2.43)

Imagine not having the freedom to think. What would that be like? Awful, that's what. And how would people be able to tell if you were "breaking this law" or not? Is it possible to not think at all? How can you even answer that question without thinking about it? Our mind is spinning!

Quote #2

Everyone agreed that it was a very fair sentence, and the judge continued: "There will also be a small additional penalty of six million years in prison. Case closed," he pronounced, rapping his gavel again. "Come with me. I'll take you to the dungeon." (5.24)

Hasn't anyone told this judge about cruel and unusual punishment? There's a big gap here between the "fair sentence" Milo thought he would receive and six million years in the clinker. But the key here is that our clever judge has separated the sentence ("I am") and the punishment. Talk about mincing words.

Quote #3

"And so they were taken from the palace and sent far away to the Castle in the Air, and they have not been seen since. That is why today, in all this land, there is neither Rhyme nor Reason." (6.23)

The two brothers disagreed with Rhyme and Reason, so they cast their sisters out. That was shortsighted and, ultimately, stupid because, while Rhyme and Reason were the ones who were technically being held prisoner, the people they left behind suffered even more without them.

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