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"South of the Slot"

Jack London’s story, “South of the Slot,” takes place in San Francisco around the turn of the 20th century. The Slot referrers to the “iron crack that ran along the center of Market street” that held the endless amounts of cable that was attached to the cable cars (1). The “Slot” is not only an element of the setting, but it also serves as a metaphor for the division of social classes at that time. The main character, Freddie Drummond, lives north of the Slot, an area for the wealthy upper-class, reserved for theaters, shopping districts, and respectable businesses. South of the Slot was set aside for working-class people and their factories, slums, and machine-shops (1). Throughout “South of the Slot,” Jack London uses the theme of naturalism. Generally, naturalism refers to the practice of viewing life strictly from a scientific approach. By examining the forces that govern human beings, London comments on the natural laws behind these forces and their impact on individual behavior and choice. The forces of heredity and environment shape Freddie Drummond’s persona and perception of himself. At the onset of the story, the reader understands that Freddie Drummond accepts his place in society. He is complacent with his position as a professor, content with his “orthodox” views of the working class, and resigned to the knowledge of his ancestry. He is unremarkable in thought, action, and deed. As a professor of sociology, his published works were noted for their accuracy, but not for their insight or ideas. They were filled with safe assumptions and “tentative generalizations.” “He was not a deep thinker. He had no faith in new theories. All his norms and criteria were conventional” (2). This inability to think freely and to formulate ideas of his own is a great example of how Drummond is controlled by the societal norms of his environment. Even Drummond’s understanding of his genealogy...

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"South of the Slot". (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 13:56, October 20, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/19145.html