Flat Land

Flat Land

  • Submitted By: Theb
  • Date Submitted: 02/21/2009 1:34 PM
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 1352
  • Page: 6
  • Views: 364

I have chosen the novella “Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions”, written by Edwin A. Abbot for my book report. Written in 1884, and published in London by Seeley & Company, the story is a clever satire of Victorian era society. The story still remains popular today, I believe as an interesting social comparison to modern age. In this report I will be examining Abbot’s world of shapes and the close-minded realm of the second-dimension.

Our narrator for this tale is A. Square who describes “Flatland” as a realm that is strict and committed to conformity. “Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows - only hard and with luminous edges - and you will then have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen. Alas, a few years ago, I should have said "my universe": but now my mind has been opened to higher views of things.” (1)

Place in this society is strictly based on the number of sides each shape contains. Social comparison of the Hexagonal and Circular is far above mere Lines and Triangles. At the lowest rung of Flatland’s societal ladder are females. Women in this land are mere lines with little importance. Abbott was a social reformer who criticized a great many aspects of the limitations of Victorian society. He was a firm believer in equality of educational opportunity across social classes and in particular for women. He participated actively in the efforts to bring about changes, and the frustration he felt from the resistance of the educational establishment is mirrored in the satire of Flatland. (2) The women in Flatland are actually quite a threat as they are able to pierce and kill any other shape unfortunate enough to get too near. Women are also senseless beings, incapable of intelligent thought....

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