Quiz about The World of Flatland
Quiz about The World of Flatland

The World of "Flatland" Trivia Quiz


This quiz explores the strange world of Edwin A. Abbott's "Flatland".

A photo quiz by bernie73. Estimated time: 2 mins.
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Author
bernie73
Time
2 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
411,501
Updated
Jan 12 23
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
32
Awards
Editor's Choice
Last 3 plays: Guest 66 (9/10), Guest 24 (7/10), Guest 94 (2/10).
photo quiz
1. Which shape most resembles the narrator of the book? Hint

A
B
C
D

photo quiz
2. At the time the book was set, which of the following would be considered an unsafe shape for a private house in Flatland? Hint

D
B
A
C

photo quiz
3. The narrator of the book was a man. Which of the following shapes would most resemble his wife (and all women)? Hint

D
B
A
C

photo quiz
4. Which of the following shapes would be considered an unsafe member of society (even unintentionally)? Hint

D
A
B
C

photo quiz
5. Which shape most closely resembles the ultimate leader of Flatland? Hint

A
C
B
D

photo quiz
6. The narrator of the book described a visitor from the third dimension that visited him at his home. What was the appearance of the visitor? Hint

D
B
A
C

photo quiz
7. In which dimensional land do we see the narrator converse with a monarch in a dream? Hint

A (three dimensions--Spaceland)
C (one dimension--Lineland)
B (two dimensions--Flatland)
D (zero dimensions--Pointland)

photo quiz
8. At the time the sphere meets the narrator, what does he (the sphere) initially state are the maximum number of dimensions?

B. Four dimensions
A. Three dimensions

photo quiz
9. The narrator mentions residents of Flatland using three senses to recognize one another. Which sense is not mentioned? Hint

A. Sight
C. Touch
B. Hearing
D. Smell

photo quiz
10. After the narrator learns about Spaceland, he attempts to tell several people about it, including his grandson. Which of the following shapes most resembles his grandson? Hint

D
B
A
C


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Which shape most resembles the narrator of the book?

Answer: B

The author of "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" was Edwin Abbott Abbott, the longtime headmaster of the City of London School. After his retirement, he authored a number of books of which "Flatland" may be the best known.

Abbott's name does not appear on "Flatland" as originally published. Instead, the title page indicates this is the work of A Square, who is literally a square. In the world of "Flatland", the sentient beings are various geometric shapes. A Square is a shape made up of four sides of equal length. His internal body has four equal angles of ninety degrees each.

In "Flatland", your shape denotes your general position in society. Four-sided and five-sided regular shapes are members of the professional class or upper-middle class, including doctors and lawyers. A Square himself is a lawyer.
2. At the time the book was set, which of the following would be considered an unsafe shape for a private house in Flatland?

Answer: A

At the time when "Flatland" takes place, homes of less than five sides would have been considered unsafe since the angles formed where two sides met would have been considered too sharp. Three-sided and four-sided buildings would have been used a locations such as armories. That is, the sort of building that should not be casually approached.

The elimination of four-sided houses occurred more rapidly in population centers. Square indicates that four-sided houses lasted somewhat longer in rural areas with lower population densities. At first, the owner of a four-sided house paid a fine and later those houses were outlawed. A noticeable feature of the house shown in "Flatland" was that there were separate entrances for the men and the women.
3. The narrator of the book was a man. Which of the following shapes would most resemble his wife (and all women)?

Answer: A

All women, whether upper class or lower class, are line segments. Their shape, according to A Square, makes them both unintelligent and dangerous. There's simply not much room for brains when the whole body is so narrow. There is an implication that lower class men (isosceles triangles) are similarly unintelligent because of the relatively narrowness of their front angle.

Square tells us that if you have said something that upsets a woman, she will forget that she is angry if you can distract her for a few moments. The difference between men and women is so great that a man uses a completely different vocabulary when talking to a woman versus talking to another man (with the strong implication that the vocabulary used with a man better reflects the "real world").

Square mentions that the enlisted soldiers in this society are drawn from the isosceles triangles with very narrow front angles (maybe only one or two degrees). The narrow angle makes them able to use their front portion as a more effective weapon. The ends of women--according to the narrator--are even more dangerous since they are "all point". Women were expected to move the rear portions of their bodies back and forth so that they would be very noticeable and not accidentally stab a bystander. The swaying motion sounds similar to the movement of 19th century British women in the elaborate hoop skirts of the day.
4. Which of the following shapes would be considered an unsafe member of society (even unintentionally)?

Answer: B

A basic premise of the world of Flatland is that all of the beings/shapes are largely symmetrical in form. Even the lowest-level triangles are isosceles triangles (having two of the three sides and angles being equal). This allows a person who sees one of the angles or sides of a shape be able to quickly determine the size of a shape and how much room it takes up.

An asymmetric shape such as choice B would be dangerous to another person, even unintentionally. From one side, the figure would appear to be a square and from another a triangle and from still another perhaps another shape. It would be far too easy to underestimate the area occupied by this shape and accidentally bump into one of its angles, causing possible harm. The laws of Flatland do allow for shapes with a small amount of asymmetry, although those angles hold low level positions and are not allowed to reproduce. Shapes with too much asymmetry, however, are generally executed--though as painlessly as possible.
5. Which shape most closely resembles the ultimate leader of Flatland?

Answer: C

Remember that one's rank in Flatland is determined by the number of sides of your shape. A shape like choice B would be not appropriate. Choices A (four sides) or D (six sides) would be upper middle class or the lowest level of the upper class. Descendents of a being with a certain number of sides generally have more sides than their ancestor. For instance, a five sided figure usually had six-sided children.

When the figures have a very large number of sides (say 20 sides or 30 sides), the child might have several more sides. With the increasing number of sides, the individual sides get smaller. The many, many-sided figure began to resemble a circle. The leading circle (who served as both political leader and religious leader) was generally assumed to have 500 sidses.
6. The narrator of the book described a visitor from the third dimension that visited him at his home. What was the appearance of the visitor?

Answer: D

The visitor from the third dimension to Flatland is a sphere--as described by both himself and Square. Square, however, does not realize the sphere is a sphere until he is pulled out of Flatland into the third dimension. Until then, Square only sees the sphere as a circle that grows larger and smaller as it passes through Flatland.

This is enough, however, for Square to treat the sphere with respect since circles are leader class of Flatland.
7. In which dimensional land do we see the narrator converse with a monarch in a dream?

Answer: C (one dimension--Lineland)

A Square is brought to near Pointland and attempts to have a conversation with its leader. However, the leader, not being able to imagine a world outside of his own or that any other intelligent being exists in the universe, imagines Square's voice is simply an expression of his own thoughts. We don't see clearly in the story whether he speaks with the leader of Flatland or the leader of Spaceland.

Square dreams about a visit to Lineland. In this world, the leader is a longer line segment, the other men are shorter line segments, and the women are points. Since Square can only be seen in Lineland as a point, the Lineland leader imagines he is a woman, who speaks with a man's voice. This fact seems to both confuse and offend the leader of Lineland.
8. At the time the sphere meets the narrator, what does he (the sphere) initially state are the maximum number of dimensions?

Answer: A. Three dimensions

Just as when Square travelled to Lineland, he tried to convince the leader that there were two rather than one dimension, when the sphere travelled to Flatland, he tried to convince Square that there were three dimensions. While Square could not convince the leader of Lineland that there was more than one dimension, the sphere is able to convince Square of the third dimension by pulling him out of Flatland and showing it to him.

This enables Square to make the mental leap and ask to be shown the fourth dimension.

The sphere responds to this request by calling Square a fool and announcing there are only three dimensions. Later, the sphere somewhat shamefacedly admits that there are theories about additional dimensions.
9. The narrator mentions residents of Flatland using three senses to recognize one another. Which sense is not mentioned?

Answer: D. Smell

Square mentions that the hearing of the residents of Flatland is better than the hearing of beings in the three dimensional world. Flatlanders can distinguish between individuals as well as between Triangles, Squares, and Pentagons. It is possible, however, to sometimes produce a false voice to fool the listener.

Women and lower class males will use feeling one of the angles of a being to determine his status in society. Upper class males take the advantage of a light fog that exists throughout Flatland. Because of this fog, small differences in the distance of an object from the viewer are readily apparent. For those who spend the time to learn how two sides of a shape on either side of an angle will appear noticeably different from the two sides of a different shape.

Smell is not mentioned as a way to distinguish between shapes.
10. After the narrator learns about Spaceland, he attempts to tell several people about it, including his grandson. Which of the following shapes most resembles his grandson?

Answer: D

Before the sphere arrived Square had been teaching his grandson (a young hexagon) a math lesson. The lesson describes a line of three inches in length and a square of three X three inches. When the grandson asks if it is possible to extend the shape in another dimension, Square dismisses this as foolishness--unduly harshly, I might add. When Square later tells his grandson about the third dimension, the grandson is anxious to prove that he no longer believes in that idea.

The story ends rather sadly. After Square attempts more than once to share information about the third dimension publicly, he is found by the government to be insane and/or a heretic and sentenced to life imprisonment. His only consolation is his written description of his experiences (which makes up the book we read) which he hopes will be rediscovered by future generations.
Source: Author bernie73

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor looney_tunes before going online.
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