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Ripe Figs

Updated on December 21, 2015

"Ripe Figs" by Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin's short story "Ripe Figs" is quite brief, but in it you will find so much symbolism. If you have not read this work, please take a minute to do so; a few minutes is truly all it takes to finish reading this story. I have provided a link below where you can read this story for free. Let us know what you thing in the comment area below. Enjoy!

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This story is "ripe" with symbolism

My own take on the symbolism.

Time as a Physical Manifestation in Kate Chopin's "Ripe Figs"

In the very short story "Ripe Figs" the character Maman-Nainaine tells Babette, who is portrayed by Kate Chopin as being young and impatient, that she may visit her cousins when the figs have ripened. The restless Babette checks the trees daily, only to find the figs unripe, and each day is disappointed. Finally, on the day that she finds the figs are ripe, she is overjoyed. She serves the figs to Maman-Nainaine in the morning, and her godmother is surprised that the fruit has already ripened. Babette, in contrast, remarks that she thought the figs were late that year. As many parents and those acting in loco parentis have discovered, the concept of the passage of time is a difficult concept for children to grasp. The cliché of the child in the back of the car asking, "Are we there yet?" is one example of this yet undeveloped concept. By giving a child something tangible, like the blooming of flowers, the end or start of the school year or, as in this case, the ripening of figs, the child has something to use as a point of reference to assess the passing of the time. Maman-Nainaine was wise in that she gave Babette a way to perceive the passage of time without the need to ask again and again when she could go to visit her cousins. Perhaps if more parents could employ this same method, they would all be as calm and patient as Maman-Nainaine.

Need to Cite This?

Author: Jacquelyn Block

Date Electronically Published: 4-27-11


Did you enjoy the story? - Tell us what you think.

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    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I haven't read this but want to so didn't read your take on it. I like to read things blind (with no preconceived ideas or information). I loved The Awakening so look forward to Ripe Figs. Thanks for the reminder about this talented writer.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      7 years ago

      What a clever device to use nature's timer.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love the story behind it! It really is interesting and you can really learn the importance of patience. What a very beautiful lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      An interesting story centered on ripe figs.

    • JackieBlock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Block 

      7 years ago from SE Michigan

      @UKGhostwriter: Thank you.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image


      7 years ago

      great lens - well done!


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