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Flatland compared to the U.S. Essay


Flatland is like America. They both identify people in different ways. In Flatland, classes are distinguished by using Hearing, Feeling, and by Sight. Feeling determines the shape of someone by feeling one of their angles. It is therefore not necessary, as a rule, to do more than feel a single angle of an individual; and this, once ascertained, tells us the class of the person whom we are addressing, unless indeed he belongs to the higher sections of the nobility (36). To use the Sight, you need fog. In the U.S, people recognize each other by the color of their skin, the sound of their voice if there is an accent, by facial features, and by body type. In America, its easier to recognize other people because not everyone looks the same.

In Flatland, the shapes or people that live in the world are firmly divided into different classes. Theres lower class, middle class, professional men, nobility, and priests. In this book, the law separates people into different classes based on the number of sides that they have, and by the side lengths in triangles. The sorting starts with isosceles triangles, the lowest among them all. Irregularity of Figure means with us the same as, or more than, a combination of moral obliquity and criminality with you, and is treated accordingly (50). The other classes would be equilateral triangles, squares, pentagons, hexagons, etc...

Certainly, Squares belief that the Laws of Evolution themselves are stacked against women (53) acts to echo those of the most conservative Victorians even as it builds the ironic ineffectiveness of his character. The portrayal of women is so obscene (from swaying their backsides to the violent St. Vituss Dance (49)) that no reader, Victorian or contemporary, can take it seriously. Yet each of these descriptions is only an exaggeration of the Victorian manner, from padded skirts to admonitions to silence; Abbott points his finger clearly at this prejudice. However, he does it through the heroic voice of Square, a character readers are also urged to be sympathetic to. As Square becomes enlightened on many dimensions, we also learn what The Sphere tells him: How little your words have done (150). We readers may permit ourselves wonder at dimensions, but Abbott holds little hope that we will actually change our beliefs. They are, after all, Natural (53); and so we see the satire, but may be doomed to continue our ignorant behavior.

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