Study Guide

The Phantom Tollbooth Chapter 19

By Norton Juster

Chapter 19

The Return of Rhyme and Reason

  • Tock can't keep them all in the air for too long, but he manages to get them past the demons – at least, temporarily.
  • He, the Humbug, Milo, Rhyme, and Reason hit the ground and keep moving. Rhyme and Reason get to ride on Tock (which tells you how big of a dog he is), while Milo and the Humbug have to fend for themselves.
  • The demons are right behind them, and there are a bunch of creepy ones that our heroes are just now seeing for the first time: the Triple Demons of Compromise, the Horrible Hopping Hindsight, the Gorgons of Hate and Malice, the Overbearing Know-it-All, the Gross Exaggeration, and the Threadbare Excuse.
  • The heroes get closer and closer to the border between Wisdom and Ignorance (when they get to Wisdom they'll be safe), but the demons are catching up to them. The Giant and the Trivium are following them, along with another one called the Dilemma.
  • The demons are about to swallow the heroes alive, when saviors emerge. In the nick of time, a huge army from Wisdom appears. All the people and things Milo encountered along the way are represented, with King Azaz and the Mathemagician in the lead.
  • After seeing the army, all the demons give up and retreat. Victory!
  • King Azaz's cabinet comes forward and congratulates the returning heroes. Rhyme and Reason are welcomed home, and their rescuers are praised.
  • To celebrate, they all begin three days of partying. It starts with a huge parade.
  • During the parade, the travelers are horrified to learn that the one thing that neither King Azaz nor the Mathemagician wanted to say was that their quest was "completely impossible" (19.54). It's only because they didn't know it was impossible that they could attempt it. How about that?
  • At a neutral point in Wisdom, the parade halts for the three days of partying. All the (nice) characters we met during the book show up to jam. There's eating and drinking and speeches.
  • King Azaz and the Mathemagician seem like they've really made up.
  • The princesses tell Milo he has to be on his way: it's sad but true. He has to say goodbye to everyone, even Tock and the Humbug.
  • Milo gets his car back, and he takes off. As he's leaving, he hears the Mathemagician and King Azaz start to squabble once again over language and math. Oh my.