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The Little Foxes

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  2,980 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Picture a charming home in the South. Into this peaceful scene put the prosperous, despotic Hubbard family - Ben, possessive and scheming; Oscar, cruel and arrogant; Ben's dupe, Leo, weak and unprincipled; Regina wickedly clever - each trying to outwit the other. In contrast, meet lonely intimidated Birdie, whom Oscar wed for her father's cotton fields; wistful Alexandra, ...more
Paperback, 108 pages
Published 2001 by Josef Weinberger Plays (first published 1939)
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A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee WilliamsThe Crucible by Arthur MillerDeath of a Salesman by Arthur MillerThe Glass Menagerie by Tennessee WilliamsWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
Best American Plays
54th out of 181 books — 252 voters
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Ariya
The Little Foxes is a 1939 play by Lillian Hellman about the Giddens family living in the South, who is concerned with keeping their wealth. The play focuses on Regina Hubbard Giddens, in her desire for a share of the family inheritance. The play deals with the themes of social class, domestic violence, race, and gender. By the end of the show, Regina, ends up with the family money because she threatened to blackmail her brothers, so she ends up being alone. I'm really disappointed with this pla ...more
Lauren
My initial college advisor (before I dropped English for the oh-so-much-more practical politics) passed away this spring. I hadn’t spoken with her in years, but whenever I sit down and write anything, she’s there, hidden in the lines. She had an enormous influence on my writing, and her voice is forever in the back of my head, reminding me I can do better.

She was also a big fan of Lillian Hellman. When I saw The Little Foxes sitting on a bookshelf a few weeks after I heard of her passing, I wa
...more
Greg
The Little Foxes is a play about family dynamics gone wrong set against the Old South, complete with hateful, greedy, rapacious family members. The characters are all disturbing in some way – the worst are really grasping and dishonest, the best are ignorant or naïve, and some are somewhat resigned to both behaviors. Birdie represents the last vestiges of southern aristocracy, and its victimization. Regina’s husband is resigned to events, and Regina’s daughter is the voice of integrity, albeit w ...more
Lynn
I had to read this for my drama class in school. In fact, I had to memorize a monologue from this work. My favorite line from this play is "Are you scared Mama?" It was a very good look in to a very messed up family.
Matthew Dunleavy
Oct 01, 2011 Matthew Dunleavy rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
From spoilersliterature.blogspot.com:

I have put this post off long enough but I am man enough to finally tackle writing about the ‘bore-fest’ that is Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes (3 Acts, 79 pages).

The story centers around the most loathsome fictional family I have ever come across; the Hubbards. They are a southern American family living in the late 1800s/ early 1900s (the play itself is set in the Spring of 1900). They are the embodiment of all the terrible traits you would imagine linke
...more
theduckthief
"Well, there are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it like in the Bible with the locusts. Then there are people who stand around and watch them eat it. Sometimes I think it ain't right to stand and watch them do it."
The Hubbards are a familiy with ambition. Their greed is all consuming as they struggle to profit from exploiting what is left of the Old South after the Civil War. Ben Hubbard is head of the family with his younger brother Oscar towing the family line as a sheep wou
...more
Chris
"Little Foxes on the hillside..." Sadly that Malvina Reynolds refrain is about all the fun I got out of this one. It's a well-constructed play, but it's a helluva bummer.

The Hubbards are an unscrupulous, greedy, soulless Southern family (Yoknapatawhans would know them as Snopeses). After years of cheating the blacks and poor whites of their town out of every penny, their chance for the Big Time is here at last. Working with a Northerner, they aim to build a cotton mill in town--to bring the cot
...more
Andrew
A very interesting look at greed, family relations, and the American Dream. Interesting characters, good climax, and crisp storytelling prove why this is considered such a classic in American theater.
Annette
James Wood of Harvard recommended this one, among many others, and I'm indebted to him!! Such fabulous writing!
Shannon Fox
Probably one of my favorite plays. Still have the monologue memorized from high school.
Saxon
Hellman explores the dionysian/appolonian struggle through wealthy southerners during the early 1900's. Rich people complain about their problems while thier black servants shuffle along like faithfukl, babbling idiots.
I understand Hellman's contribution to American theater but this play is pretty out of date and should only be viewed in the context of what American life was like back then.
Personally, I found the content to be pretty mediocre. Similar themes can also be found in Mourning Become
...more
Nan
Here is yet another play I can hardly rate. Hellman's politics seem to be front and center throughout the work. As a result, the characters seem a little too roughly drawn, the plot too melodramatic. Yet for a morality play, it reads well. Hellman's got the history right. Her Hubbards could fit easily into the modern world. They're just a bunch of greedy corporate board members.
Meg
This play is INTENSE. The family is more akin to ravenous wolves than "little foxes." Almost every one of them lies, steals, even kills to advance their own interests. Some powerful themes, and Hellman's writing is psycho cool. I saw it onstage once in the Brechtian style. Decent. But I cried more reading it. (if tears are any judge of greatness)
Glo
As plays go it was okay. I read half of the book, which was written as a script for the play and then watched the movie which came out in the 40's, I think. I then finished the book and had a better idea of what was going on. I did not care much for reading a script. I found it hard to follow.
Maureen
Just from reading the play and not seeing it on stage - I didn't get the excitement. I liked Hellman's book of memoirs but i find her plays very stale and artificial.
I think they might work on stage though - the drama is melodramatic - with the right director - they could be good.
Kristy
Lillian Hellman built the perfect fucked-up family, showed some old-school vigilantism, and also introduced some hella-harsh female characters in the process. Not only that, but she also pissed off Joseph McCarthy to no end. What's not to love?
Dee
The Hubbards' are a clear example of what no money, no power, and no respect can do to a family desperately trying to obtain it. I guess sometimes the institution of family just isn't enough.
Sherry
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
V
Provides a good look at the life of women in 1900s rural America and the deceitful masks "aristocracy" wears to keep up their nice facades.
Misty
i did a scene from this play in college, i played regina and it was definately the most memorable scene i have ever done.
Julia
Hellman's criticisms of capitalism are blatant. Zan's one-liners are the true diamonds in the rough of this critical play.
Karschtl
Another play by Hellman that I read for an uni lecture. A nice read, but I liked the story of "the Children's Hour" a lot more
Sankar Raj
Jun 09, 2013 Sankar Raj rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: play
Hellman in this play shows the capitalist ambitions ruins the family of Hubbards. Her characterization is remarkable.
Leigh-Ann
This is a wonderful play. I love the character of Alexandra. The strength that she develops inspires me in my life.
Carol
Complex women! Truthful, straight forward, interesting look into the motivations of ripping people off. Monologues?
Tracy Morton
Lillian Helman offers great roles for woman that are not just fluff parts. They are meaty and challenging.
deirdre
If it wasn't for Liz, I wouldn't remember this book. That said, I don't remember much beyond the video.
Nancy
I love this play. The southern family that takes the fun out of dysfunctional!
Scroutch
Hmmm... Like a female Tennessee Williams perhaps. This is drama, folks.
Juliette
A little snoozy, but also full of family scandal and great dialogue.
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Lillian Florence "Lilly" Hellman (June 20, 1905 – June 30, 1984) was an American dramatist and screenwriter famously blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) at the height of the anti-communist campaigns of 1947–52.

Hellman was praised for sacrificing her career by refusing to answer questions by HUAC; but her denial that she had ever belonged to the Communist Party was e
...more
More about Lillian Hellman...
The Children's Hour Pentimento An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir Scoundrel Time Six Plays: The Children's Hour / Days to Come / The Little Foxes / Watch on the Rhine / Another Part of the Forest / The Autumn Garden

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