[Teacher name] [Class name] 2 March 2011 Flatland: an Allegory Edwin A. Abbot’s novella Flatland is a satirical allegory of class divisions in Victorian England. An allegory is a metaphorical story in which the characters and situations in the story stand for people and ideas in real life…
The three ideas satirized most fiercely are classism, sexism, and the treatment of the handicapped and mentally ill. In Flatland, class is determined by the number of angles a shape possesses. The shapes go to great lengths and even risk injury to determine one another’s shape by feel. The higher classes of shapes even learn how to determine shape by sight through the science of optics, which the lower class shapes are not permitted to learn. They are considered to be unintelligent, and therefore incapable of learning. Ironically, the triangles with the narrowest angles, and therefore the lowest class and least intelligent, are forced to become teachers, showing that they in fact are intelligent, despite what their society says. Determining class and maintaining class distinctions was of the utmost importance to the people of Flatland, just as it was to the people of Victorian England. Instead of using angles, Victorians had many ways to determine one’s rank in society, including accents, clothing, and titles (Mitchell 151). Even though in modern American society we claim to be above those distinctions, people still go out of their way to have the most expensive brand-name clothing, live in the most prestigious neighborhoods, and keep people seen as undesirable out of exclusive clubs. Things haven’t changed all that much since Edwin Abbot’s time. ...
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