The theme of "Ripe Figs" is that human maturity is related to the seasons of the year, a process that cannot be hastened.
In Kate Chopin's story, the young character Babette wants to go to Bayou LaFourche to visit her cousins, but Maman Nainaine insists that she wait until the figs ripen. Babette, of course, is impatient and watches the green figs each day, hoping that they will soon change their color so that she can depart:
She walked slowly beneath them, carefully peering between gnarled spreading branches.
Each time she comes out, she is dispirited. Finally, Babette comes to Maman Nainaine and shows her a dozen purple figs on a porcelain platter. Maiman Nainaine exclaims that the figs have ripened so early, but Babette insists that they have ripened late. This is the contrast between youth and maturity: the concept of time is different. Hence, the stipulation that Babette wait until the figs mature. For, watching the figs mature may have encouraged patience.
Then, Maman Nainaine takes her knife to the ripened fig, and as she peels it, she tells Babette to give her love to all her cousins. By forcing Babette to pay attention to the maturation of the fig, Maman Nainaine, perhaps, hopes to teach Babette to follow the pattern she has watched and allow time for things to come about.