The Call of the Wild

The Southland v. The Northland Symbol Analysis

The Southland v. The Northland Symbol Icon
The Southland refers to California, specifically the Santa Clara Valley where Buck grows up. The Northland refers to the Alaska and the Klondike in the Canadian Yukon, where Buck comes of age. Together, they symbolize the dramatic contrast between the rules of civilization and laws of nature. The Southland is governed by the "law of love and fellowship." "Moral consideration" underlies this law. The Northland's governance operates under the law of club and fang. On the surface, the South seems more orderly, while the North seems lawless, but London reminds us that each region codifies its laws according to its environment. The Southland, being a more developed and hospitable region, can enforce laws that rely on a strong moral compass. "Mercy was a thing reserved for gentler climes," London notes. In contrast, the Northland, being a wild frontier, must rely on more primitive mandates in order to administer "just" laws.

The Southland v. The Northland Quotes in The Call of the Wild

The The Call of the Wild quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Southland v. The Northland. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Man-Dog relationship Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Call of the Wild published in 1990.
Chapter 2 Quotes

He had been suddenly jerked from the heart of civilization and flung into the heart of things primordial. No lazy, sun-kissed life was this, with nothing to do but loaf and be bored. Here was neither peace, nor rest, nor a moment's safety. All was confusion and action, and every moment life and limb were in peril. There was imperative need to be constantly alert; for these dogs and men were not town dogs and men. They were savages, all of them, who knew no law but the law of club and fang.

Related Characters: Buck
Related Symbols: The Law of Club and Fang, The Southland v. The Northland
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

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This first theft marked Buck as fit to survive in the hostile Northland environment. It marked his adaptability, his capacity to adjust himself to changing conditions, the lack of which would have meant swift and terrible death.

Related Characters: Buck
Related Symbols: The Southland v. The Northland
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Southland v. The Northland Symbol Timeline in The Call of the Wild

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Southland v. The Northland appears in The Call of the Wild. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Into the Primitive
The Man-Dog relationship Theme Icon
Domestication to Devolution Theme Icon
...as he cavorts around the Judge's sprawling and "sun-kissed" estate in Santa Clara, or the Southland. The "trouble" "brewing" unbeknownst to Buck is the 1879 Klondike gold rush, which has created... (full context)
The Man-Dog relationship Theme Icon
The Pursuit of Mastery Theme Icon
...two French-Canadians, François and Perrault. Departing from Seattle, they take Buck and Curly to the Northland on a ship called the Narwhal. On board, François and Perrault acquire two more dogs,... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Law of Club and Fang
The Pursuit of Mastery Theme Icon
Wild Law and Order Theme Icon
Buck observes the cruel ways of the Northland and its "wolfish creatures" immediately through an "unforgettable lesson." Curly approaches a husky in a... (full context)