In Lillian Hellman's Little Foxes, what does Addie mean when she says, "You ain't born in the South unless you're a fool"? [ACT III, p.202]
In Act III Horace talks with Addie who tells him that Ben and Oscar and Regina believe that the deal with Mr. Marshall will greatly profit them; in fact, they consider it consummated.
HORACE: They believe it that way?....They are fools.
ADDIE: You ain't born in the South unless you are a fool.
Addie knows that to dream is a foolish venture for every black, as their station in life is fixed. And, for Ben and Oscar to believe that the Northerner, Mr. Marshall, has come to truly make a profitable bargain with them is equally foolish. For, the Northern industrialists come to the South only to profit themselves and to exploit the defeated South. Moreover, those who do not combat the vices such as greed, fall to the evil wrought by it, along with apathy and envy. Horace Giddens is made sick, and his will to fight is defeated; Birdie turns to drink, and Alexandra comes to detest her mother, while Leo gets arrested. Hellman perceived the passivity of Southerners as defeatist and dangerous. For, allowing Northern capitalists to infringe on their land's products defeats the Southerners.