Light and shade, as well as dimness/darkness and brightness, are constantly referred to in Flatland as the ways in which the third dimension creates perspective. Throughout his description of Flatland, A Square repeatedly expresses that his readers from Spaceland have been blessed with the gift of perceiving light and shade. As such, the two represent the knowledge that Spaceland inhabitants have of the third dimension. In the same way that light and shade allow for visual perception of the third dimension, so too does knowledge broaden one’s perspective to understand higher Truths. Yet this particular symbol also speaks to the dual nature of knowledge, which can be either enlightening and approaching Truth (light) or exploited by those in power to suppress rebellion (shade).
Light and Shade Quotes in Flatland
“Either this is madness or it is Hell.” “It is neither, calmly replied the voice of the Sphere, “it is Knowledge; it is Three Dimensions: open your eye once again and try to look steadily.”