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Flatland and Little House on the Prairie


Simplicity clashes with stress. Living with the bare necessities, the working class families keep themselves happy. The husband works while the wife cooks the meals and takes care of the children. No desire for excessive amounts of m oney exists, just a desire for a strong bond within the family. Upper-class families or families striving for success invite stress into their lives. Too much stress from greedy desires of power creates tension in homes. The higher people c limb up society's ladder, the more likely their families are to fall apart. Flatland, by Edwin Abbott, presents the two dimensional world as a society with mostly working class families. A. Square, the narrator, enlightene d by a three dimensional experience longs to tell of the new knowledge revealed to him. Having no desire to learn of this foreign land called "Spaceland," the citizens of Flatland have A Square locked up. From past experiences, peo ple in Flatland know that new ideas cause turmoil amongst themselves. Focusing on having the basics for survival and a strong love within the family produces a peaceful and less stressful environment.


The lngles family from Little House on the Prairie, a popular television series, demonstrates the working class. Mr. Ingles works while Mrs. Ingles takes care of the household duties. The family displays a genuin e happiness. They have no modern utilities, but they have each other. They have a strong love within their family, and worldly materials serve little importance to them. A typical family today displays tremendous difference s compared to the Ingles family. Jealously and competitiveness play a major part in showing these variations. In Flatland Triangles were lower than Squares and Squares were lower than Pentagons. When the Coulour Bill cam e about there were chances that a lower class could disguise as a higher class. This, change, brings about jealousy. Families today compete with other families. Who has a nicer car, bigger house, and more friends? These question s show what the families truly value. Competitiveness has consumed family lives. People try to out do others for all the wrong reasons.


What do people value most? Why do they work so hard? Parents claim it is for their children. However, they can buy their daughter a new car, send their son to an expensive college, and keep their children dressed in what teenagers consider th e "cool cloths" to keep their image. What led parents to have such confused motives in providing for their children? Peer pressure seems to answer this question. Some children in working- class families (who experience love while growi ng up) find that they become a topic of conversation by those who have learned to love material things. While in school he will hear comments such as, "Look what he has on!" directed towards his less expensive clothing. Soon the child loses wha t friends he had. Because parents do not want their children experiencing this, the mom usually gets a job. The popularity of two incomes in one household has spread like a common cold. Now their children have friends. It i s amazing what money can buy. Although this makes mom and dad happy they find themselves caught in the "cycle."


This "cycle" consists of families striving for success, while basic family values no longer appear important. It starts with cloths, then grows to the appearance of the home, and then to the family's cars. Greed takes over in the family that was once built and centered around simple love. Now that materials supersede love, families begin growing apart rather than growing together.


Most parents divorce and children become a new object of competition. What leads to divorce? Does it start all the way back to where the children were picked on? Mom and dad both have jobs. Dad no longer provides totally for the f amily, while mom gains some independence. She becomes preoccupied with meeting with co-workers and sometimes spending time with other men more than she should. Dad feels as though the family does not depend on him as m uch, so he desires someone who would need him more than his family does now. Bam! There goes the Ingles. Parents begin breaking wedding vows physically, mentally, and emotionally. What next? Tension clogs the doorways and bedrooms of the house. Fights over pointless, worldly matters fill conversations. Children become angry and go into a new world where drugs and alcohol fill their needs, and parents decide to divorce.


Many parents drag their innocent children into the mess they created. They drive bad opinions of each other into the minds of these teenagers, trying to convince them that they are the "better" parent. Their selfishness blin ds them from the fact that they are tearing apart every happy memory the children have from when they were a "family". It puts a sour taste in a young persons mouth, making it hard for them when it comes to their turn to love and tr ust a mate. All the love and trust they have learned turns into hate and deceit. The result of this selfishness not only broke the parents up, but also tore the children away from their mom and dad.


In Flatland they came up with what they thought was an good plan to distinguish between each other without using a complicated method. This new concept involved the different classes being painted a certain color. The plan failed and led to the Colour Revolt. Many of the low class shapes were killed, during an outrage, so it is understandable why the people of Flatland do not have an interest in knowing about Spaceland. They want to keep their lives as they have them.


Why did society not reject change? This possibly cannot be answered. Flatland citizens intelligently chose the right turn. Growth in knowledge no doubt brings great new opportunities, but the consequences are not worth it. Who knew that by trying to improve a family's status in society would lead to the destruction of a household? Greed starts off ugly and only gets uglier. The problem with society succeeding belongs to the fact that society does not know when to stop. There are some families that have kept love as the center of their household. These families provide a hope that this "cycle" of selfish, self-gaining, individuals will eventually return to the days of Little House on the Prairie.


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