The Phantom Tollbooth Questions and Answers
by Norton Juster

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Provide a summary of chapter 5.

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There is confusion in the word market following a fight between the Spelling Bee and the Humbug that has resulted in the latter tripping into a stall, thereby knocking to the ground all the remaining stalls and spilling the words all over the square. The chaos in the marketplace attracts the Dictionopolis police force led by Officer Shrift. From the Humbug’s incomplete account of events, Officer Shrift mistakenly concludes that Milo is the cause of the chaos in the word market. He then goes on to enumerate the crimes committed by Milo, “you have committed the following crimes: having a dog with an unauthorized alarm, sowing confusion, upsetting the applecart, wreaking havoc and mincing words.” He is given a “short sentence” that literally comprises of the short sentence “I am.” In addition to this, he is given “six million years in prison.” Milo is then imprisoned, together with Tock the watchdog.

In the cell, Milo and Tock meet the woman called Faintly Macabre, who is the king’s great aunt. She had once been the “Official Which” in charge of choosing words to be used in all kinds of occasion. However, she grew miserly, preferring to keep more and more words to herself, rather than give them away for use. Word sales in the kingdom suffered as a result of her behavior. Finally, she was thrown into the dungeons as punishment for her poor services during her time in office. She explains her predicament to the new arrivals. Milo and Tock make friends with Faintly Macabre and she shares with them a box of “sugar-coated question marks, periods, commas, and exclamation points.”

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