“The Theme of Contrasts in ‘Ripe Figs’”
This essay will compare the two central figures in Kate Chopin’s short story. It will show how Babette and Mamam- Nainaine differ in their character. I will do this using the following four areas of contrast: youth versus age; patience versus impatience; experience versus innocence; staidness versus exuberance.
I will explain the contrast between youth and age. Babette is a very young girl. She dances around the fig- trees waiting for something to happen. She is full of energy. Mamam- Nainaine is inside sitting down. She is much older and does not have as much energy as Babette.
This paragraph explains the contrasts between patience and impatience. Mamam- Nainaine was a very patient woman. She just sat around waiting for the figs to ripen. “Mamam- Nainaine was as patient as the statue of la Madone.” Babette wasn’t as patient. She really wanted to visit her cousins down on the Bayou- Lafourche. She was constantly around the fig- trees just waiting for them to ripen. “Babette as restless as a humming- bird.”
This paragraph explains the contrast between experience and innocence. Mamam- Nainaine is an experienced woman. She knows when the figs are supposed to ripen. “How early the figs have ripened this year!” Babette is a very young girl. Because she is a young girl, she has certain innocence about her. She picked the figs from the tree. She presented them to her godmother. Her response to her godmother’s statement on the ripening of the figs was “I think they have ripened very late.”
This paragraph explains the contrasts between staidness and exuberance. Babette is exuberant. She is excited for the fig- tree to ripen so she can visit her cousins. She is outside dancing around the trees. “Babette is as restless as a hummingbird.” Mamam- Nainaine is more patient than Babette. She knows exactly when the fig- tree is supposed to ripen. She is very calm. “Mamam- Nainaine sat in her stately way.”