Norton Juster's Theme
I think that Norton Juster, the author of The Phantom Tollbooth, tries to convey the message, “It’s all in how you look at things.” This is the main lesson that Milo, the main character in this book, needs to learn the most so that he can change his negative view about life. Norton Juster puts a lot of word- play in the story which further conveys the message. Wordplay conveys this message because it is, “making fun” of the English language by giving a word a double meaning, giving the message that there is more than one way to look at the meaning of the word. Tock the Watchdog, who’s body is a huge clock, the Humbug, a giant bug, the Spelling Bee, a bee who spells everything, and the Dodecahedron, who has many faces, are all examples of this word play. The characters themselves also teach the theme of The Phantom Tollbooth. Alec Bings comes directly out and teaches Milo “It’s all in how you look at things,” while the rest of the characters teach it indirectly. Dr. Dischord and the awful DYNNE love loud and horrible noises and therefore teach Milo that sometimes bad things are necessary, and if you look at things correctly, they aren’t all that bad. Milo definitely needed to learn, “It’s all in how you look at things,”and so does everyone in the world. Without this lesson all knowledge and maybe even life itself will fade away. It is the nonphysical form of the Quadratic Equation.