Modern Day Patience and the Ripe Fig

By Bailey Bickerstaff

Well dear readers, today you are going to take a journey into the mind of le me. In my AP Humanities class some days ago, we read and dissected Kate Chopin’s brilliantly short story, “Ripe Figs”. As my teacher was lecturing, she affably remarked that if Babette tried to wait for figs to grow today, it would be extremely different because of the short life-span of modern day patience.

She was right. Soon, the wheels were turning and BAM. I present to you a modern day “Ripe Figs”.

Note: I am not Kate Chopin, and this parody is inspired by an admiration for her work. The following story is meant to entertain and perhaps draw a thought out of the ol’ thinker. I also included the original story, although I am sure all of you are up-to-date with your classical literature.

Ripe Figs

by Kate Chopin (1851-1904)

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 is the way Maman-Nainaine was.

It seemed to Babette a very long time to wait; for the leaves upon the trees were tender yet, and the figs were like little hard, green marbles.

But warm rains came along and plenty of strong sunshine; and though Maman-Nainaine was as patient as the statue of la Madone, and Babette as restless as a humming-bird, the first thing they both knew it was hot summer-time. Every day Babette danced out to where the fig-trees were in a long line against the fence. She walked slowly beneath them, carefully peering between the gnarled, spreading branches. But each time she came disconsolate away again. What she saw there finally was something that made her sing and dance the whole day long.

When Maman-Nainaine sat down in her stately way to breakfast, the following morning, her muslin cap standing like an aureole about her white, placid face, Babette approached. She bore a dainty porcelain platter, which she set down before her godmother. It contained a dozen purple figs, fringed around with their rich, green leaves.

“Ah,” said Maman-Nainaine, arching her eyebrows, “how early the figs have ripened this year!”

“Oh,” said Babette, “I think they have ripened very late.”

“Babette,” continued Maman-Nainaine, as she peeled the very plumpest figs with her pointed silver fruit-knife, “you will carry my love to them all down on Bayou-Boeuf. And tell your tante Frosine I shall look for her at Toussaint–when the chrysanthemums are in bloom.”

Story taken from http://www.classiclit.about.com

Ripe Figs: A Story of Babette and the Fig-Growing App

                                                                                by Bailey Bickerstaff

                                                                                                (1997- )

Much to Babette’s dismay, Maman-Nainaine said she could fly to her Instagram convention, where her followers were, when those stupid figs in the backyard grew.  Babette had no idea why her trip was dependent on the figs, but she eventually concluded that once humans, especially Maman-Nainaine, left the glory of their youth, they evolved into lame and boring adults. She suspected that Maman wanted to make her suffer or perhaps learn the virtue of patience, an antiquity in this day and age.

To make the time go faster, Babette tried to occupy herself in every way possible: she went to social events, joined a team, learned three new languages, and failed two classes because she was too tired from all her other activities to do her homework. Every day she checked the figs, but they always looked the same—shriveled, small, and very dead. Babette even downloaded a fig-growing app to track her figs’ progress; even the app did not speed the figs’ growth.

After many weeks of school and complaining about school, the figs began to look alive. Babette would run to the backyard every day to check. The small fruit blossomed from shriveled rocks to plump, juicy fruit that would satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. One day after quickly glancing at the long rows of fruit with a maroon tint, Babette danced for happiness because the figs were finally ripe, a beautiful purple hue with a stem straining to hold such a magnificent piece of fruit.

Babette texted Maman-Nainaine to come from the house to look at the figs, as she also opened a new Internet browser to update her status about the figs on Twitter. Maman-Nainaine did not come as quickly as she had hoped, but she looked pleased when she saw the ripe figs. Babette proudly showed her the calendar on her fig-growing app. “My figs ripened three days before they were predicted to,” Babette exclaimed. “That puts me in the top twenty-two fig growers in Louisiana!”

“You may go to your Instagram convention as soon as your room is clean, Babette.” Maman-Nainaine’s calm expression expressed a bit of annoyance as Babette continued to watch the screen of her iPhone. “Babette!” Maman reprimanded. “Leave your iPhone here and go clean your room!” Babette almost rolled her eyes at her mother, but remembered the consequences of last time’s disrespect. “Okay, Maman. Whatever.”

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