Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott Essay

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"Flatland" is a story of depth, and the lack there of. The tale of A. Square's ventures through Pointland, Lineland and Spaceland ultimately reveal to him the possibilities of the seemingly impossible. In this case, the "impossibilities" are the very existence of other dimensions, or worlds. His guide throughout the journey, a god - like figure who refers to itself as
"Sphere", bestows upon A. Square the greatest gift he could hope for, knowledge. It is only after the Sphere forcibly takes A. Square out of his dimension, however, that he is able to shrug off his ignorance and accept the fact that what cannot be, can, and much of what he believed before is wrong. When he sees first hand that a square can have depth simply by
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"Flatland" is a book which main purpose is to make the reader think; it raises many questions. Is there a fourth, fifth, sixth, infinite dimensions? Logically, there should be. Just as there is a dimension zero, a dimension one, a second and third dimension, should not there also be a fourth? The Sphere speaks to A. Square of Geometrical Progression 1, 2, 4 and hints that it goes beyond even that (to 8). But of course, A. Square cannot see that while he is still in his own realm. It is only after he enters the three dimensional world that he can realize it fully. He then remarks rather quickly about how there should be something else. He says to the Sphere that "doubtless there is One above you who combines many Spheres in One Supreme Existence, surpassing even the Solids of Spaceland" (p. 102). He thinks logically that why should it stop here? There has to be another more "spacious space" (p.102) somewhere. The Sphere cannot answer the question A. Square so desperately seeks the answer for, and the reason for this is explained in the foreword by Abbot. Something that does not exist cannot even be realized. That is where the impossibility lies. People in Flatland are even incapable of understanding the limitations of that view! The King of Lineland cannot understand something that his mind will not allow to exist any better than the entity Pointland can think outside his prison of thought. Another interesting part of the book is the way women are
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