Flatland

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Flatland Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The revolution continued for three years, A Square says, during which violence ensued between the army of Isosceles triangles and that of Polygons. Many Circles were killed by their wives, who were furious at their opposition to the Bill.
As a satire that depends on analogy to make a point about British society, it would seem that the Color Revolt is alluding to Britain’s past, but in some ways this section seems more applicable to other European countries, like France with its violent Revolution.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
Analogy as Satire Theme Icon
It seemed that the Priests would soon have to give in to anarchy or face death, when the course of events changed in their favor due to the fraudulent act of one Isosceles triangle. This triangle had painted himself with the 12 colors of a dodecagon and tricked the daughter of a noble Polygon into marrying him. When the daughter discovered the truth, she committed suicide.
Despite the Chromatistes’ efforts to effect social change, it is evident from the triangle’s attempt to impersonate a higher polygon that it is difficult to overturn existing social attitudes on class and status. Deeply engrained conventions are difficult to change.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
In response to the news of this tragic event, women across Flatland began to see the Bill in a new light and were opposed to its passing. The Circles quickly jumped on this opportunity and organized an Assembly of the States.
The Circles, who still possess some social superiority, immediately find a way to regain power by exaggerating the potential consequences of passing the Bill.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
Knowledge and Truth vs. Dogma Theme Icon
Pantocyclus, the Chief Circle during those days, declared publicly that the Priests would concede and accept the Bill. He then delivered a speech that lasted an entire day. He warned the lower classes that if they were to accept the Bill, they would have to sacrifice the potential opportunity of their children to enter the class of the Regulars. Power would belong in the hands of the majority (which would be the largest Criminal class). He also appealed to the Women by arguing that color would increase fraud.
The speech given by Pantocyclus illustrates how social hierarchy is maintained. While the Circles certainly use direct oppression to maintain power, the social system is also preserved by those in the lower classes who seek to someday climb up the social ladder and enjoy the perks of the higher classes.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Knowledge and Truth vs. Dogma Theme Icon
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When Pantocyclus cried “Sooner than this, come death,” the Isosceles triangles and Women took that as a signal to being attacking the Chromatistes. The battle did not last long. In the heat of the violent chaos, the Isosceles convicts began attacking each other and within half an hour, everyone was killed.
It is ironic that the people from the two lowest classes are fighting on the side of the Priests. Once again social hierarchy is maintained in many ways besides oppressive measures.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
The Circles, then, sealed their hard-earned power by reducing the Working class to a tenth of its size, destroying any triangle suspected to be irregular, and conducting home visitations to purge any excess soldiers and tradesmen. Color and painting were, thus, permanently banned.
Power is restored to the Circles because their social ideology (a systematic body of concepts accepted by a certain group) is so embedded within the minds of the Flatlanders that it is difficult for them to conceive of a society organized by something other than the number of sides. Tragically, the end of this rebellion also means an end to the richer world of color and poetry in Flatland.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
Knowledge and Truth vs. Dogma Theme Icon