Characters Discussed

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Madeleine (Maddy) Faith Wirtz

Madeleine (Maddy) Faith Wirtz, the novel’s narrator. Maddy lives quietly in New Mexico, where she works as an astronomer’s assistant. Thirty-five years earlier, she was a member of FOXFIRE and the historian of that gang’s violent exploits. Now, in 1989, the fifty-year-old Maddy is transcribing the notebooks in which she recorded the adventures of the girl gang in the early 1950’s.

Margaret Ann “Legs” Sadovsky

Margaret Ann “Legs” Sadovsky, FOXFIRE’s first in command and the inspiration for most of its adventures. Sixteen years old when she brings the gang of misfit girls together, Legs is the product of a broken home. Her mother died when she was born, and her father (who may not be her biological parent) is an abusive alcoholic. Legs transcends her own awful beginnings to bring this gang of girls together into the only community they may ever know.

Elizabeth (Rita) O’Hagan

Elizabeth (Rita) O’Hagan, a slightly overweight young girl in the gang. Her sexual abuse at the hands of Mr. Buttinger, her ninth grade math teacher, precipitates the first act of FOXFIRE. The youngest of nine O’Hagan children, Rita was gang raped two years earlier by the Viscounts. Eventually, she will be banned from the gang for dating a boy.

Betty “Goldie” Siefried

Betty “Goldie” Siefried, the first lieutenant of FOXFIRE, who at the age of fifteen is five feet, ten inches, tall. She has been kept back in school so is in Maddy’s class, “towering above everyone except the tallest boys.”

Loretta (Lana) Maguire

Loretta (Lana) Maguire, the fifth of the founding gang members, a tall, good-looking platinum blonde with one weak eye.

Violet “Snow White” Kahn

Violet “Snow White” Kahn, one of several girls who join FOXFIRE later. Her beauty is used as a lure in some of the gang’s worst crimes.

Whitney Kellogg, Jr.

Whitney Kellogg, Jr., a Hammond industrialist whose attraction for Violet is used in his own kidnapping but whose religious conversion helps foil the plot.

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Critical Essays