Thursday, November 16th, 2017...3:59 pmsmithkk

The Phantom Tollbooth- Critical Edition

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The first text that I thought of for a critical edition is one of my childhood favorites- The Phantom Tollbooth. When we explored the Lands Beyond with Milo in my fifth grade reading group, our discussion centered on Norton Juster’s critique of the American attitude. I’m not entirely sure where my critical edition will lead me, but I’d like to explore how The Phantom Tollbooth paints conformity of thought and thought process as useless and debilitating, championing self-discovery through literature (and numbers) and the adventures of challenging yourself. Juster’s conveyance of that belief results in viewing the education system as flawed because of the lack of motivation conformity breeds. Maybe I’ll discuss the societal intersections that made it possible for the educational system to both condemn and praise The Phantom Tollbooth, which is now a classic addition to the elementary reading list.

In pages 57 through 63 of “The Rule of Law Through the Looking Glass” by Mary Liston compares The Phantom Tollbooth to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to emphasize each text’s relationship to the authoritative figures in the respective time periods.

Chapter 16 of Nurturing Creativity in the Classroom by Ronald A. Beghetto and James C. Kaufman is an article by Beth A. Hennessey entitled “Intrinsic Motivation and Creativity in the Classroom: Have We Come Full Circle?” In her article, Hennessey discusses the roles of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations in the classroom, arguing that intrinsic motivation is harder to develop and produces better results.

On October 25, 2011, Norton Juster wrote a brief article on The Phantom Tollbooth‘s 50th anniversary and recorded its history, how it served as a means to escape from his own work, and the backlash it faced because it forced children to confront unknown words and ideas.



1 Comment

  •   Professor Seiler
    November 27th, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Kara–a compelling choice to go back to a book you loved in your childhood. I’d like to suggest that you check out Seth Lerer’s work on children’s literature for a critical frame. It’ll help!

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