In the three short works, "Ripe Figs," "The Story of an Hour," and "The Storm," Kate Chopin has woven into each an element of nature over which no one has control. She uses short time spans to heighten impact and bring her stories to quick conclusions. She displays attitudes in her characters in two of her stories which may have been very controversial at the time they were written. "Ripe Figs" is the shorter of the three, covering a summer in a young girl's life. The figs need to ripen before she can visit her cousins. At first the leaves of the fig tree were tender and the figs were "little hard, green marbles" (4). Each time she would slowly walk beneath the leaves, she would go away disappointed. Then one day she saw something that made her "sing and dance the whole day long" (4). The figs were ripe. However when she sat some down before her godmother, the godmother said, "Ah, how early the figs have ripened this year!", but for the girl, they "ripened very late" (4). Kate Chopin's second short story, "The Story of an Hour," takes place in the space of an hour, during which a wife comes to terms with the death of her husband. Upon the news of her husband's death, she wept with "wild abandonment" (12). After "the storm of grief had spent itself" (12), she went to her room alone. There she sat in a "roomy armchair" (12), facing the window. She could see new life in the leaves on the trees and smell a "breath of rain in the air" (12). Also she could hear the sounds of life still going on; "a peddler was crying his wares, and the music of someone singing in the distance reached her, along with the sound of countless sparrows twittering in the eave...
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... be free again when he sends her a message not to hurry home. Perhaps this was the unspoken feeling of many women during Chopin's lifetime. In summary these three short stories seem to have very much in common. The use of nature, the short time frames, and the perhaps shocking attitudes of some of the characters all combine to create a sense of identity that one might expect to see in works by the same writer. Kate Chopins' style is never boring. Her stories move quickly and have great impact.
Works Cited Chopin, Kate. "Ripe Figs." Literature for Composition. 3rd ed. Ed Sylvan Barnet et al. New York: Harper, 1992. 4.
"The Story of an Hour." Literature for Composition. 3rd ed. Ed Sylvan Barnet et al. New York: Harper, 1992. 12 - 14.
"The Storm." Literature for Composition. 3rd ed. Ed Sylvan Barnet et al. New York: Harper, 1992. 27 - 29.
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