Flatland

Flatland Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A Square proclaims that life is artistically dull in Flatland, since all they perceive are straight lines. However, he states that life was not always like this. In the far-off past, a Pentagon (who is unnamed) discovered color, began painting houses and eventually other figures, and started the Color Revolt.
A Square looks back onto better times when color not only added beauty to life, but also introduced the prospect of equality. That this has happened in the past suggests that equality is possible again.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
The act of painting gained popularity throughout society and began a “Chromatistic” movement. Coloring figures was desirable since Flatlanders no longer had to “feel” to distinguish each other and movements could now be all accounted for.
The way in which color becomes a device that equalizes society is new knowledge that was not familiar in the past, but promises a brighter future.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
Knowledge and Truth vs. Dogma Theme Icon
Within two generations, everyone was painted, except for the women and circles. The adage of the time was that the “distinction of sides is intended by Nature to imply distinction of colors,” but this did not apply to women, who had only one side, and the circles, who lack sides altogether. Due to the beauty of color, that ancient era also ushered in a period of eloquence and poetic language.
The new practice of color is interpreted as a product of natural law, suggesting that “Nature” is not fixed, but can shift according to the times and those in power. The way that color inspires poetry demonstrates that knowledge and creativity are self-proliferating.
Themes
Social Hierarchy and Oppression Theme Icon
Reason vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Knowledge and Truth vs. Dogma Theme Icon