Ripe Figs By Kate Chopin Essay

811 words - 3 pages

Authors of every genre use images in their works to stand in as metaphors, similes, and more often as simple descriptions. Kate Chopin is very well known for her use of images in her writing. Kate Chopin uses imagery in her stories to build the characters and provide metaphors for their lives.

In “Ripe Figs”, the imagery of nature is present, but at the same time, it is not heavy-handed. Here, Chopin introduces Babette and her god-mother Mamane-Nanaine as they wait for the ripening of the figs before a summer trip to visit family. As the figs were described as “tender yet” and “little hard, green marbles,” so too is Babette, a young child who has not yet grown into a young adult (11). Mamane-Nanaine sees this and is pressing her to slow down, but does not stop her from going out to check on the figs. It is in this way that Mamane-Nanaine is described as “patient as the statue of la Madone,” never trying to rush things, while Babette is “as restless as a hummingbird,” unable to sit still for any real period of time (11). This is a very good contrast between the two, the older one capable of staying still and savoring time as it passes while the younger one must constantly be moving, trying to hurry things and make the time pass quickly. While these images of nature are light, they are still present and are very pleasing metaphors, contributing greatly to this wonderful short story.

As with “Ripe Figs,” Chopin's use of nature images with “The Story of an Hour” is important, though stronger. In this story, Mrs. Mallard is told by her sister and her husband’s friend that her husband had died in a train accident, only to find at the end that he is unharmed and well. Her reaction to this news comes at a great expense to her, as the “storm of grief had spent itself,” leaving her “pressed down by a physical exhaustion,” and left her without any energy (46). In this way, the immediate pain and suffering at such news is painful and terrible, sweeping over Mrs. Mallard and leaving her an emotional wreck, just as a storm would a field or small town. While she is sitting in her armchair, she looks out the window and sees “patches of blue sky” peeking out from behind the clouds (46). The blue sky gives her hope; she is no longer under the oppression of her husband...

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