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"Characters in Flatland" - A contemporary tale published in 1884. This story Flatland describes a two-dimensional world occupied by geometric figures. The narrator is a square named A Square, who guides the readers through some of the implications of life in two dimensions. Following a dream where he visits  “Lineland”, A Square is visited by a sphere, named A Sphere, which he cannot comprehend until he sees Spaceland (a tridimensional world) for himself. This Sphere visits Flatland at the turn of each millennium to introduce a new apostle to the idea of a third dimension in the hopes of eventually educating the population of Flatland.


From the safety of Spaceland, they are able to observe the leaders of Flatland secretly acknowledging the existence of the sphere and prescribing the silencing of anyone found preaching the truth of Spaceland and the third dimension. After the Square's mind is opened to new dimensions, he tries to convince the Sphere of the theoretical possibility of the existence of a fourth and fifth, and sixth ... spatial dimension. The Square then has a dream in which the Sphere visits him again, this time to introduce him to Pointland, where the point (sole inhabitant, monarch, and the universe in one) perceives any communication as a thought originating in his own mind.


So far as the Monarch understands them at all, he accepts them as his own – for he cannot conceive of any other except himself – and feel a great sense of self-satisfaction about himself upon the variety of Its Thought as an instance of great creative power.


“Let us leave this God of Pointland to his ignorance, nothing that you or I can do can rescue him from his self-satisfaction.”— says the Sphere.  The Square recognizes the ignorance of the monarchs of Pointland and Lineland as his own (and the Sphere's) previous ignorance of the existence of higher dimensions. Once returned to Flatland, the Square cannot convince anyone of Spaceland's existence, especially after official decrees are announced that anyone preaching the existence of three dimensions will be imprisoned or executed, depending on caste. Eventually, the Square himself is imprisoned for just this reason. Seven years after being imprisoned, A Square writes the book Flatland, hoping to keep his tale for future generations so that that they might see beyond their two-dimensional existence.

Characters in Flatland

  • Painting

    artist: William Sayler

    size: 36" h x 36w" x 1.75d"

    medium: oil on canvas

    style: Non-Referential Abstract

    signature: on the back

    ready to hang on your wall


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