Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 287
Regina Giddens, a conniving and grasping woman. Eager for her share in the profits of a proposed cotton mill, she contrives to get her fatally ill husband, Horace, home from the hospital to be worked on by her family to supply her share of the needed investment. When...
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Regina Giddens, a conniving and grasping woman. Eager for her share in the profits of a proposed cotton mill, she contrives to get her fatally ill husband, Horace, home from the hospital to be worked on by her family to supply her share of the needed investment. When he refuses to have anything to do with the project, she cruelly taunts him with her contempt and refuses him his medicine when he feels the onset of a fatal attack.
Oscar Hubbard, Regina Giddens’ conniving and grasping brothers. Lacking Regina’s share of the investment needed for the construction of the cotton mill, they descend on the fatally ill Horace Giddens in an attempt to persuade him to put up the money. When he refuses to have anything to do with the venture, they “borrow” his bonds and go off to complete the deal.
Horace Giddens, Regina Giddens’ honest, fatally ill husband. Sick of his scheming wife and her grasping family, he refuses to invest in the projected cotton mill. When he learns of the theft of his bonds by Benjamin and Oscar Hubbard, he ties Regina’s hands by planning a will that makes her the beneficiary of the bonds. He dies when she deprives him of his medicine.
Alexandra, the daughter of Regina and Horace Giddens. Sickened by the treatment given her father by her mother and her uncles, she leaves Regina and the Hubbards after Horace’s death.
Birdie Hubbard, Oscar Hubbard’s wife, who longs for a return to the refinements of a bygone day.
Leo Hubbard, Oscar Hubbard’s son, an ally in the theft of Horace Giddens’ bonds.
Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1107
Addie is the Hubbards's black maid and Alexandra Hubbard's nanny; she has a keen sense of justice and she tries to protect Alexandra from the rapacity of the Hubbard family. She considers Ben, Oscar, Regina, and Leo a scourge on humanity, 1 'eaters of the earth,'' and she scorns those who are too feeble or too uncommitted to stand up to them, saying: "Well, there are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it.... Then there are people who stand around and watch them eat it.... Sometimes ] think it ain't right to stand and watch them do it," She herself lacks the social status to fight them effectively. Her comments serve as a moral compass for the audience.
See Benjamin Hubbard
Cal is a slightly bumbling and mild-mannered black servant who very indirectly protests Oscar's monopolization of the area's hunting rights by offhandedly mentioning how his friends would "give anything for a little piece of that meat."
Seventeen-year-old Alexandra Giddens, or Zan, adores her father Horace Giddens and her Aunt Birdie but mistrusts and, by the end of the play, actively dislikes her mother, Regina. Addie has protected Zan from her family, allowing youthful idealism to carry Zan along, but Horace wants her to "learn to hate and fear"—the Hubbard way of life—so that she will get away from them. She grows up suddenly after Horace's murder, but it remains unclear in what way she will fulfill her promise to "be fighting ... some place where people don't just stand around and watch."
Horace Giddens, Regina's husband, is a man of moral conviction who lacks the physical and emotional fortitude to honor his conviction by fighting the Hubbards. Instead he takes refuge in a Baltimore hospital, nursing a heart ailment and "thinking about" about his unhappy life with Regina. Alexandra fetches him home for his final showdown, wherein he shows some mettle in his elaborate scheme to obstruct Regina's access to his money; nevertheless, when Regina strips away that last shred of his defenses by admitting that she married him only for money, has always held him in contempt, and cannot wait until he dies, the shock kills him. He dies having done nothing to deter the Hubbards.
Regina Giddens, born Regina Hubbard, handsome sister to Ben and Oscar, wife to Horace, and mother of Alexandra, is the central character in The Little Foxes. In the first stage production Tallulah Bankhead portrayed her as an inherently evil villainess, but in the 1941 film version Bette Davis created a more sympathetic character who gradually becomes evil.
Regina's flirtation with Mr. Marshall is done as much to seal a business deal as it is to secure a stepping stone into the high society of Chicago she wants to join. She is sexually cold, having scornfully banned her husband from her bed for the last ten years. Money and power are her loves, and she resorts to an unusual method of murder to get them: she shocks Horace, who has a weak heart, with the news that she has never loved him and that she will relish his death, then she fails to aid him when he predictably has an attack. While he lies dying upstairs, she coolly savors a familiar game of blackmail, fencing with her brothers for the stakes of the ultimate control of the family power.
Ben Hubbard, eldest brother to Regina and Oscar, is the soft-spoken but callous ringleader of the Hubbard family and one of the predatory capitalists of the New South. Unmarried, he shows no interest in human relations beyond the use he makes of them to achieve financial domination of the "small unnamed town in the south" where he was born. He has built his local empire by cheating and overcharging black customers in his dry-goods store and he can guarantee Chicago investor Mr. Marshall low wages and no strikes in their new cotton mill because he knows how to play his workers against each other. Ben vies for power with the cool precision of a chess player who holds a grudging respect for his primary opponent, Regina.
Birdie Hubbard is a timid, well-bred, but aging Southern belle, a nervous and flighty woman abused and completely dominated by her bullying husband Oscar. She once innocently enjoyed coming-out parties at her parents' plantation, Lionnet, but now she has not had a day of happiness in twenty-two years. A weak woman, she has not prevented her son from becoming even worse than his father, and she drowns her misery in a "secret'' drinking habit that the family cloaks under the euphemism of “her headaches." Her only salvation is music and her relationship with her niece, who, she hopes, will avoid her fate.
Leo is the son of Birdie and Oscar Hubbard, a lying toady with all of the greed and deceitfulness of his father and none of his mother's cultural refinement, but having "a weak kind of good looks." His own mother detests him. He foolishly reveals to his father that he has taken an illicit look into his uncle Horace's safe deposit box and tries to blame it on others, but his intimate knowledge of the box's contents and the whereabouts of the keys give away his culpability. Ben can barely conceal his contempt for Leo and makes him take the full blame for the theft when it is discovered. Leo is apparently too stupid to save himself.
Oscar Hubbard is the sharp-tempered, mean-spirited brother of Regina and Ben who kowtows to his older and more powerful brother, bullies his wife Birdie, and goes hunting daily, only to throw out the precious game he kills, ignoring Cal's hints to share it. He is clever enough to develop a scheme to steal Horace's money but he slavishly hands it over to Ben without realizing that Ben will not let himself be implicated. Although he presumably wants to make millions for his son's sake, he and Ben let Leo take the blame when the theft is discovered. He treats his cultivated wife, Birdie, with disdain, having married her solely to help Ben take over her family's cotton plantation. He advises his son: * 'It's every man's duty to think of himself."
William Marshall, a Chicago businessman, wants to invest in the industrialization of the New South by building a cotton mill but needs local partners to manage the mill and keep the workers in hand. Although married, he flirts openly with Regina during the one scene in which he appears.
See Alexandra Giddens