Study Guide

The Phantom Tollbooth Chapter 11

By Norton Juster

Chapter 11

Dischord and Dynne

  • Milo gets up at the perfect time to wake Chroma.
  • But he's so tempted by Chroma's job – it looks so cool – that he decides to have a go at it.
  • Things start off well, but conducting the sunrise is much harder than it looks. Things get out of control very quickly, and a whole week rushes by, full of all the wrong colors. Oops!
  • The chaos stops only when Milo stops conducting out of total exhaustion.
  • Chroma wakes up and starts a new day like nothing happened. And actually, nobody really knows except for Milo and the orchestra. Phew: crisis averted.
  • With that, Milo, Tock, and the Humbug have to be on their way. When they're saying goodbye, Alec gives Milo a special telescope, which will help him to see things better.
  • The three friends then drive quickly away. The road they find is much steeper and more difficult than previous ones. Uh oh.
  • Soon they come to a "carnival wagon" (11.29) that is decorated to advertise the business of Kakofonous A. Dischord, Doctor of Dissonance. (That's quite a mouthful!)
  • Milo wants to ask the doctor some questions about the route, but the person who greets them has his own agenda.
  • He asks a bunch of questions about strange noises they might have heard. But neither Milo, Tock, nor the Humbug has ever heard them.
  • The three travelers go into the wagon as the doctor keeps asking questions. They're all kind of freaked out but don't want to let their feelings show.
  • Dr. Dischord examines the three of them and says they need more noise in their lives. He begins concocting a mysterious potion that will "cure" their sickness. As he mixes it, he tells the three travelers about his business. He works on making noise and harsh sounds, rather than soft or nice ones. Interesting profession, that's for sure.
  • When Dr. Dischord explains what his cure will do – make sure the three hear bad things, not good ones – the travelers all refuse it. Good call, guys.
  • So, Dr. Dischord says he'll give it to the DYNNE, genie-like thing that appears from a bottle and is composed entirely of smoke.
  • Dr. Dischord tells the DYNNE's sad backstory: turns out, the DYNNE is responsible for most of the noise in the world.
  • A joke the Humbug makes upsets the DYNNE, who cries. Then he weeps some more at the fact that none of the three travelers seem to respect noise in the way that he and the doctor do.
  • Dr. Dischord cheers up the DYNNE by reminding him of all the important ways noise works in the world. Then, he tells the travelers they should get going: the DYNNE has his own path to travel for the day.
  • When the doctor and DYNNE find out where Milo, Tock, and the Humbug are going, they freak out: it's dangerous and frightening, they say. In order to get to Digitopolis, these three will have to "pass through the Valley of Sound" (11.99). For whatever reason, Dr. Dischord and DYNNE are totally scared of this place.