The Phantom Tollbooth

by: Norton Juster

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

We always see things from the same angle … It's much less trouble that way. Besides, it makes more sense to grow down and not up.

When Milo first meets Alec Bings in Chapter 9, he is perplexed by the notion that a person would grow down rather than up. As demonstrated by this quotation, Alec is similarly dubious of the idea of growing in Milo's way. Here he lists what he thinks are the benefits of his family's way of growing: one's perspective remains the same all through life and one is safer. Of course, Milo is horrified by the prospect of looking at things the exact same way whether he's eight or eighty years old. Here Juster demonstrates the value of changing perspectives throughout life, as Milo considers what it would be like to live up off the ground like Alec Bings. Eventually, Milo decides to try and and by thinking "like an adult" he is able to levitate himself for a few minutes. When he falls back to the earth, he remarks that looking at things like a child is better because you don't fall so far. Alec would obviously see it the other way around, since he avoids scrapes and scuffs because of his altitude. Juster seems to suggest that the mistakes children make are an important part of growing up and that it is better to make mistakes while young, since it's easier to learn from them.