The Phantom Tollbooth emphasizes both lessons from an academic sense and lessons from a moral stance. The latter becomes more prevalent in the second half of the book, when the climax and conclusion are reached. accomplishment, helping others, and completing the impossible are all major themes. These actions are encouraged. Milo is congratulated and rewarded for being a person of moral standing and the demons who represent qualities deemed as detrimental are defeated.

The significance given to morals in The Phantom Tollbooth is reflective of the fact that children’s books are written by adults. Theories of justice, moral standing, and virtue are ideologies that are pondered upon by adults. Parents also put a strong focus on implementing their thoughts on these subjects into their child’s way of thinking. I remember as a child having a collection of stories that were each supposed to teach a different virtue. Books such as this one show how children’s literature is designed not only to entertain and teach facts, but also teach the way in which one should live. It is interesting to see that the moral lessons Milo encounters are not shown alongside an alternative view. They are taught as if they themselves are facts such as one plus one equals two. Morals are not left for children to form on their own. From an early age books such as The Phantom Tollbooth teaches that when one holds certain virtues good things happen and that the opposite will occur if these virtues are not followed.

Advertisements