illustrated portrait of American author Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin

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Share your ideas about the main characters in Kate Chopin's "Ripe Figs."

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Unfortunately I had to edit your question to focus on just one question. You are not allowed to ask multiple questions. You have picked a rather intriguing story to focus on. I think "Ripe Figs" is probably the shortest story that Kate Chopin wrote, and the story presents us with two characters: Maman-Nainaine and Babette.

Maman-Nainaine seems to be a very patient woman who lives life by the seasons of nature and there products. It is clear from the condition that she gives to Babette that her life is governed by nature:

Maman-Nainaine said that when the figs were ripe Babette might go to visit her cousins down on Bayou-Boeuf, where the sugar cane grows. Not that the ripening of figs had the least thing to do with it, but that was the way Maman-Nainaine was.

Note that it appears Maman-Nainaine is not being cruel here and making Babette wait, this is just how she was as a character, something that is reinforced by the last sentence:

"And tell your tante Frosine I shall look for her at Toussaint--when the chrysanthemums are in bloom."

Maman-Nainaine therefore is a character who allows her life to be ruled by the passing of the seasons and how that impacts nature.

Babette of course seems to be an impatient young lady. She is described as being "restless as a humming-bird" and she carefully peruses the fig trees until she has ripe figs to show to her godmother. The response of the godmother to these figs seems to symbolise the difference between Babette and Maman-Nainaine:

"Ah," said Maman-Nainaine, arching her eye-brows, "how early the figs have ripened this year!"

"Oh," said Babette, "I think they have ripened very late!"

Thus this very short-short story seems to deal with the nature of patience and how one woman orders her life by nature. Perhaps Babette is learning the value of patience, albeit unwillingly, whereas Maman-Nainaine, describe as a "statue of la Madone," seems happy to use nature to judge when she will engage in certain activities.

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