The Phantom Tollbooth Themes

Norton Juster
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The primary theme of the novel is the tension between wisdom and ignorance. Indeed, because the Lands Beyond are quite literal, Wisdom is a kingdom carved out of the wilderness of Ignorance. Just as one must constantly struggle in the pursuit of knowledge and learning to keep ignorance at bay, so the city of Wisdom is in constant struggle to keep the demons of Ignorance from overwhelming the city. With the banishment of the princesses, Rhyme and Reason, the city of Wisdom falls into disrepair, regained territory by the denizens of Ignorance.

When Wisdom falls, it is interesting that the cities of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis continue to thrive. The author seems to be making a distinction between learning and wisdom. King Azaz and the Mathemagician are experts in their fields of words and numbers, respectively. For all their learning and power, they lack wisdom, as shown by their inability to...

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This section contains 925 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Phantom Tollbooth Study Guide
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