At the same time Bernice doesn't tell her daughter the history of the heirloom, in fear of waking the spirit. This means that even Bernice is not using her legacy positively, but is afraid of it. Both characters are able to embrace their history with pride by the end of the play, as Boy Willie comes to understand the Piano's significance and Bernice begins to play it again (Sparknotes.com)
3. The Little Foxes
a. Significance of the Title
Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans and educated at New York and Columbia University. Her first success was the play 'The Children's Hour'; she was an active part of political activities and spoke openly about her ideals. 'The Little Foxes' brought her greater fame and reflects her opinion of and her remembrances of the South (kirjasto.sci.fi).
The play is a satire or a criticism of the machinations of capitalists who live to feed of the hard work of the poor and under privileged. The story revolves around and entire family of these capitalist leeches, who are planning on starting a 'Cotton Mill' which will of course be run on the blood and sweat of the poor workers and will bring profits for them.
As she says: "There are people who eat earth and eat all the people on it like in the Bible with locusts. And other people who stand around and watch them eat."(kirjasto.sci.fi)
This line clearly shows why the word 'foxes' is part of the title, because the cruel and crafty Hubbard family is a bunch of foxes eating up whatever comes in their path. They are sly and scheming just like fox is supposed to be (enotes.com).
b. Regina's Strengths and Weaknesses
The whole Hubbard family is sly, deceitful, clever and calculating but Regina is cleverer and craftier than all of them combined. Regina and her brothers are aiming to build a Cotton Mill but are short of fund. Regina's husband Horace is a Bank governor so they ask her for the money, when Horace refuses Regina kills him by not giving him his medication. Her husband had decreased her share in the will and left her with very little money. She is ruthless, as she then threatens her brothers to give her 75% share of the mill. She makes a deal with them by guaranteeing her silence over the matter of Oscar's theft of the bonds from the bank (komisarsscoop.com). She is a character who doesn't care for anyone and shows that she can do anything for her gain and profit. She is unscrupulous and does not shy away from using her feminine wiles to seduce men and get her own way. Her brothers also call her greedy and selfish.
But even Regina is fighting back against the constraints of the society as she is not considered worthy of inheriting anything g from her father's property, as she is a woman. She has spent her life dependent on others for money and support, first her father and brothers and then her husband.
She is a determined, confident and resolute woman who wishes for independence and does all she can to gain it. For the said independence though she uses unfair and cruel ways and means.
She is a strong central character around whom the whole play revolves (Cannon, 2011).
c. Continuing the Mission of the earlier Theatre group
The mission of the theatre group was to break all barriers that stopped the black people from becoming important members of the society. They wanted to become prominent and create a name and place for themselves in the white dominant world. The group also wanted to start a black theatre which became a whooping success due to the popular plays that were staged there. Plays like 'A Raisin in the Sun', 'The Piano Lesson' etc. contributed a great deal to its success and recognition.
The earlier writers focused on creating strong female characters and spoke of freedom and the rights of women. Hansberry showed in her play a prophetic vision of what the future was like for the women. In her play Bennie is becoming a doctor which is an unusual occupation for the women of the time. She makes her characters repeat that women should support their husbands and through this highlights that a wife and mother's support is an extremely necessary thing for the success of a man. In the other play the main female lead Bernice is a strong, motherly and nurturing character.
Similarly, 'The Little Foxes' highlights the injustice being shown to women of the west in the 20th century. The writer highlights that the reason why Regina became so ruthless and calculating was the way she was treated all her life. She shows that women were always kept depending on the males and the males were the heads. Regina is tied to a crippled husband and has to look to him for support. When she can take it no longer, she protests against it by blackmailing and fooling all the men around her. This again shows how strong women can be when they are determined and resilient.
Bradford, W. The Piano Lesson: Study Guide. 2012. 11 June, 2012. http://plays.about.com/od/plays/a/pianolesson.htm
Cannon, J. "Local Women's History Celebrated." "The Dernopolis Times." 2011. Web. 11 June, 2012.
Cliffnotes.com. A Raisin in the Sun. 2012. Web. 11 June, 2012.
Enotes.com. The Little Foxes: Introduction. 2012. 11 June, 2012. http://www.enotes.com/little-foxes
Umich.com. The Art of Social Criticism: Lorraine Hansberry's a Raisin in the Sun. Character Analysis of Walter Lee Younger. 11 June, 2012.
Gardner, E. Kennedy Center Honors Words of August Wilson. 2008. 11 June, 2012. http://www.usatoday.com/life/theater/news/2008-03-02-august-wilson_N.htm
Green, O. Review: A Raisin in the Sun. 2000. 11 June, 2012. http://www.timbooktu.com/orlgreen/raisin.htm
Komisar, L. Hellman's "The little Foxes" Plumbs the Greed that Tears a Family Apart. 2010. 11 June, 2012. http://www.thekomisarscoop.com/2010/10/hellmans-the-little-foxes-plumbs-the-greed-that-tears-a-family-apart/
Sparknotes.com. The Piano Lesson- Summary and Character Analysis. 2012. 11 June, 2012.
Washington, J.C. "A Raisin in the Sun Revisited." "JSTOR." Vol: 22. Issue: 1, 1988. Web. 11 June, 2012. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2904153?uid=3738832&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21100845322101