Bertrand Joseph M. Roldan
October 10, 2013
BA Literature – Management
Lit 3 – Literature, Society and the Individual
A Dark Comedy that Packs a Punch:
An Analysis of Edwin A. Abbott’s “Flatland: A Romance of Dimensions”
Dark Comedy is a comic work that employs black humor, which is humor that makes light of serious subject matters; most literary writers use this type of satiric method to reflect what is happening to their current society, E. A. Abbott used this method in Flatland utilizing two dimensional shapes where the protagonist is a square who lives in an alternate reality called Spaceland. This Square’ tries to persuade his fellow two-dimensional beings – triangles, hexagons, and so on – that other dimensions are possible. Using Bakhtin’s concept “Carnival and Grotesque” is one way of analyzing Flatland. In the Bakhtinian perspective, the uses of unreal or alien concepts are brought to life in a humorous manner to hide the existing social reality.
The social reality that is concealed through the use of shapes is presented in the novel is Flatland’s classification of social class is by the number of sides and how they are equally distributed in an object, women are isosceles triangles that look like straight lines which is the lowest of ranks, next to them are the Soldiers and Lowest Classes of Workmen - Triangles with two equal sides, and a base that they form at their vertices a very sharp angle. If their bases are of the most degraded type they can hardly be distinguished from Straight Lines or Women, the middle class are consist of equilateral triangles or equilateral triangles, Professional Men and Gentlemen are Squares to which class the protagonist belong to and Five-Sided Figures or Pentagons, Next above these come the Nobility, of whom there are several degrees, beginning at Six-Sided Figures, or Hexagons, and from thence rising in the number of their sides till they receive the honourable title of Polygonal, or...
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