The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

by

Norton Juster

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Phantom Tollbooth can help.

The Dodecahedron Character Analysis

The Dodecahedron is the first being to greet Milo, Tock, and the Humbug when they enter Digitopolis. He’s a figure with 12 faces, and each of his faces wears a different expression. So he shows people his happy face if he’s happy, or his confused face if he’s confused. The Dodecahedron acts as Milo’s guide through Digitopolis, showing him first to the number mines and introducing him to the Mathemagician and then escorting the travelers to the foothills of the Mountains of Ignorance.

The Dodecahedron Quotes in The Phantom Tollbooth

The The Phantom Tollbooth quotes below are all either spoken by The Dodecahedron or refer to The Dodecahedron. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bullseye Books edition of The Phantom Tollbooth published in 1988.
Chapter 14. The Dodecahedron Leads the Way Quotes

“What a shame,” sighed the Dodecahedron. “[Problems are] so very useful. Why, did you know that if a beaver two feet long with a tail a foot and a half long can build a dam twelve feet high and six feet wide in two days, all you would need to build Boulder Dam is a beaver sixty-eight feet long with a fifty-one-foot tail?”

“Where would you find a beaver that big?” grumbled the Humbug as his pencil point snapped.

“I’m sure I don’t know,” he replied, “but if you did, you’d certainly know what to do with him.”

“That’s absurd,” objected Milo (…)

“That may be true,” he acknowledged, “but it’s completely accurate, and as long as the answer is right, who cares if the question is wrong? If you want sense, you’ll have to make it yourself.”

Related Characters: The Dodecahedron (speaker), The Humbug (speaker), Milo (speaker), Tock
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Phantom Tollbooth LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Phantom Tollbooth PDF

The Dodecahedron Character Timeline in The Phantom Tollbooth

The timeline below shows where the character The Dodecahedron appears in The Phantom Tollbooth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14. The Dodecahedron Leads the Way
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
The figure introduces himself as the Dodecahedron, which is a shape with 12 faces. He shows off his 12 faces; each has... (full context)
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Milo asks the Dodecahedron which road they should take. In response, the Dodecahedron gives a math problem asking which... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...same time. Milo asks if the roads are all the right way then, but the Dodecahedron says they’re actually all the wrong way—not all choices are right. He spins the sign... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...Tock says the numbers are exceptional. As Milo gives a handful of numbers to the Dodecahedron, he drops several. The Mathemagician says they use the broken ones for fractions, and then... (full context)
Chapter 15. This Way to Infinity
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
The Dodecahedron walks Milo through how this works with a math exercise and then assures the ravenous... (full context)
Chapter 16. A Very Dirty Bird
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...warns Milo that in Ignorance, he’ll have to take things step by step anyway. The Dodecahedron appears out of nowhere with Milo’s gifts. The Mathemagician gives Milo his own magic staff,... (full context)