"Changing or the Lack of"-The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman

Essay by CcodymanHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2004

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"Evil communications corrupt good manners." (1 Corinthians 15:33) In the world today, evil people are all around us trying to convert us to be like them. Evil twists the thoughts of good so evil will be more sinful. Sometimes it is hard for good people to see the evil in others. Throughout history this happens, but most notably is Judas with Jesus and his disciples. Judas was a person who turned Jesus in and destroyed many people's lives by getting them persecuted. In the play The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman, Oscar starts out evil and in the end he doesn't change the way he acts.

Oscar is a man in his mid forties who acts racist, cruel, and a fraudulent. Oscar shows racial prejudice against African Americans. On page 250, Birdie is talking to Addie about the first time she met Oscar and Birdie says what she heard about Oscar's family: "...made

their money charging awful interest to poor, ignorant niggers and cheating them on what they bought." Birdie says that Oscar grew up learning how he cheated black people. Through out his life he has been taught racism and he never tries to end it. Another example is on page 225 when Oscar is talking to Cal about hunting and Oscar he says, "If I ever catch a nigger in this town going shooting, you know what's going to happen." This means that if Oscar ever finds a black person using a gun he would more than likely kill him. Oscar's life he never outgrows racism. Second, Oscar acts cruelly to many things especially to his wife and animals. Oscar treats Birdie with disrespect by commenting on her manner on page 203 by saying, "You have had too much wine. Get yourself in hand now." Oscar is trying to keep Birdie where he wants her which is not speaking at all. He shows no respect for her at all. On page 213, Birdie talks about how Oscar kills so many animals and does not use them: "I don't like to see animals and birds killed just for the killing. You only throw them away." She talks about how he disrespects nature by killing birds and animals and not even using them. In the play, Oscar never shows respect for anyone and only cares about himself. Lastly, during the play Oscar acts like a fraud several times. On page 211, Oscar hints about how he wants Zan to get married to Leo: "The children, Alexandra and Leo, make a very handsome couple." The only reason he is doing this is so that Leo can inherit Horace's money when he dies. Oscar tries and tries to commit fraud on Horace so he can just get money for himself. On page 242, Oscar and Leo go into Horace's safe deposit box and Oscar says, "Shut up, Leo! He won't look at them again until September." Oscar is planning on stealing Horace's bonds so he can become richer. Overall Oscar never changes his evil ways of being a racially prejudiced person, being mean to people and being a thief.

Evil treatment of others was meant to benefit Oscar, but in the end it backfires and took away a large portion of his future profits. In the end Oscar never learns his lesson about how he should not cheat others to benefit himself. Throughout the play we can see that he is cheating anyone he can so he can become a wealthier person. Overall, Oscar started as a racist, a cruel person, and a fraud and ended the same way.