A Geometric Parody of Victorian Society

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Fictitious elements in literature may be more realistic than one thinks and the concept of dystopia is no exception. Within the novella "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" by Edwin Abbott Abbott, there exists a world known as "Flatland". Flatland is a quaint world. It is a world where shapes act out the roles of various social classes, a world where everything is geometric. However, despite Flatland's mundane description upon closer inspection, it can be seen that Flatland's social hierarchy starkly resembles that of Victorian England, and with good reason too. In an attempt to bring about the reformation of the Victorian social ladder, Abbott chose to take a more passive approach and thus "Flatland" was born. Parodying the various downfalls of Victorian society, "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" is an iconoclastic cleverly written satire that spotlights the many underlying flaws in the Victorian society. A rather mathematical society, each of Flatland's inhabitants take the form of a geometric figure. Men are represented as polygons such as triangles, squares, and pentagons. Women however, are represented as straight lines. With these two pieces of information and the fact that "Flatland" is a satire of Victorian society, one can infer that one's placement in Flatland's social hierarchy is based off the number of sides one has. For men, those in the lowest class would be triangles. Unfortunately for women, who are represented simply by lines, this sort of

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