|"The Slot" is visible in this photograph taken from the tower of the Ferry Building in 1905, looking up Market. "South of the Slot" is to the left.|
Freddie Drummond, the main character of Jack London's "The Strength of the Strong" is a clueless professor of sociology who becomes a Jekyll and Hyde character on each side of the Market Street Cable Railway's slot.
Old San Francisco, which is the San Francisco of only the other day, the day before the Earthquake, was divided midway by the Slot. The Slot was an iron crack that ran along the center of Market street, and from the Slot arose the burr of the ceaseless, endless cable that was hitched at will to the cars it dragged up and down. In truth, there were two slots, but in the quick grammar of the West time was saved by calling them, and much more that they stood for, "The Slot." North of the Slot were the theaters, hotels, and shopping district, the banks and the staid, respectable business houses. South of the Slot were the factories, slums, laundries, machine-shops, boiler works, and the abodes of the working class.
The Slot was the metaphor that expressed the class cleavage of Society, and no man crossed this metaphor, back and forth, more successfully than Freddie Drummond.
|Jack London published "South of the Slot" in The Saturday Evening Post, Vol. 181, May, 1909. It was collected in The Strength of the Strong, 1914, published by Macmillan. The full text is available at the University of California at Berkeley's Jack London Collection .|
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Last updated 01-Jul-2000