Quiet-List 1997

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References to Noise/Quiet in Popular Literature


"The Phantom Tollbooth", (c) 1961, by Norton Juster, 256 pages.

   "This unusual fantasy, besides being very amusing, has a quality 
that will quicken young minds and encourage readers to pursue 
pleasures that do not depend on artificial stimulation".
                               - Charlotte Jackson, Atlantic Monthly

   "A delightful, fanciful allegory brimming with imagination to 
enchant children and with symbolism to tickle adults".
                                           - C.H. Bishop, Commonweal
   In this popular allegorical fantasy, the Kingdom of Wisdom is 
divided by a fued between King Azaz of Dictionopolis, city of words, 
and the Mathemagician who rules Digitopolis, city of numbers.  Each 
ruler thinks his way is best and refuses to cooperate with the other.  
The hero, Milo, a very bored boy who always wishes he were somewhere 
else, and the ticking watchdog Tock, undertake a hazardous journey 
through the Forest of Sight, the Valley of Sound and the Mountains of 
Ignorance to rescue Princesses Rhyme and Reason and restore the 
divided Kingdom. 

   The book has been translated into many languages.  A film based on
the book was made by MGM in 1969, and a stage play was produced in 
Wilmington Delaware in 1995.   

   The consecutive chapters "Dischord and Dynne" and "The Silent 
Valley" are rich with recurring references to noise, listening, and 
the appreciation of quiet.  Here are some excerpts:

  "What does the 'A' stand for?"
  "But who would want all those terrible noises?" asked Milo.
  "Everybody does.  They're very popular today.  Why I'm so busy I 
can hardly fill the orders for the noise pills, racket lotion, 
clamor salve, and hubbub tonic.  That's all people seem to want 
these days.
  "Business wasn't always so good," the doctor continued.  "Years ago, 
everyone wanted pleasant sounds and, except for a few orders during 
wars and earthquakes, things were very bad.  But then the big cities 
were built and there was a great need for honking horns, screeching 
trains, clanging bells, deafening shouts, piercing shrieks, gurgling 
drains, and all the rest of those wonderfully unpleasant sounds we 
use so much of today..."
   "This is my assistant, the awful DYNNE," said Dr. Dischord.
   "What is a DYNNE?" asked Milo...
   "You mean you've never met the awful DYNNE before?" said Dr. 
Dischord in a surprised tone.  "Why, I thought everyone had.  When 
you're playing in your room and making a great amount of noise, what 
do they tell you to stop?"
   "That awful din," admitted Milo.
   "When the neighbors are playing their radio too loud, late at 
night, what do you wish they'd turn down?"
   "The awful din," answered Tock.
   "When the street on your block is being repaired and the pneumatic 
drills are working all day, what does everyone complain of?"
   "The dreadful row," volunteered the Humbug brightly. 
   "The dreadful RAUW,' cried the anguished DYNNE, "was my 
grandfather.  He perished in the great silence epidemic of 1712."
                        .   .   .

   Milo walked slowly down the long hallway and into the little 
roum where the Soundkeeper sat listening to an enormous radio 
   "Isn't that lovely?" she sighed.  "It's my favorite program - 
fifteen minutes of silence - and after that there's a half hour of 
quiet and then an interlude of lull.  Why, did you know that there 
are almost as many kinds of stillness as there are sounds?  But, 
sadly enough, no one pays any attention to them these days.

   Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the 
dawn?" she inquired.  "Or the quiet and calm just as a storm 
ends?  Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer 
to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at 
night, or the expectant pause in a roomfull of people when someone 
is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment 
after the door closes and you're all alone in the whole house?  
Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful, if you 
listen carefully."

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