| Quote #7
"It will take years to collect all those sounds again," she [the Soundkeeper] sobbed, "and even longer to put them back in proper order. But it's all my fault. For you can't improve sound by having only silence. The problem is to use each at the proper time." (13.17)
The Soundkeeper is right about this. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. There were too many "sounds," so she tried to overcorrect with too much "silence." But that didn't work either. The two – sounds and silence – have to go together to create "proper" and useful communication. This also kind of reminds us of the Which's lesson, that one "proper" word is far better than a billion so-so words.
| Quote #8
"But maybe he doesn't understand numbers," said Milo, who found [the Mathemagician's letter] a little difficult to read himself.
Is this really true? Are numbers the same everywhere? If they are, we should really think about what their value is, compared to the value of language. The Mathemagician may be right that everybody knows what "seven" means, but that also means that there are limits to what it can mean. It doesn't have as many possibilities as a word does. For example, imagine that instead of words, Shmoop only used numbers. How could we convey the same information? Could we?
| Quote #9
"That's why," said Azaz, "there was one very important thing about your quest that we couldn't discuss until you returned."
Well that's weird. How can something impossible be possible? That's a strange concept, and a confusing use of both of these words. But maybe they aren't so different after all. We mean, impossible just adds two letters to the word possible. You could just as easily take them off again.