The Phantom Tollbooth Questions and Answers
by Norton Juster

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What kind of tortous tasks does the terrible Trivium give Milo, Tock, and the Humbug? Why do you think trivil tasks are so terrible?   What kind of torturous tasks does the Terrible Trivium give Milo, Tock, and the Humbug?

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anthonda49 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Terrible Trivium's job was to so occupy people's time that they no longer had time to do anything important. One character had to dig a hole in a cliff using a needle. Another had to move each grain of sand from a beach. Lastly, the other had to empty a well using an eyedropper. While busy with these tasks, the characters forgot about rescuing the Princesses of Rhyme and Reason and restoring order to the kingdom. Therefore, the chaos in the kingdoms of numbers and words would continue. War would break out over what was more important, words or numbers while the Demons of Darkness took over the world.

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user9261697 | Student

Well, Milo is assigned to move a gigantic hill of sand from one spot to another with tweezers. Tock was assigned to take all of the water out of a well with a dropper. Humbug was assigned to sculpture a bolder with a nail. The terrible trivium is so terrible because he wants you to do the worthless jobs so that you won't have to worry about the important ones. Also, he is morally evil and described as wasteful and careless.       I hope this helps. Besides, I'm only in elementary.

kitty0 | Student

I think that the trivial tasks are terrible because one can work at it for years and still have not made a difference at all.