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Innocence to Maturity

            In both Maya Angelou's "Graduation- and Kate Chopin's "Ripe Figs- we see two young girls moving from innocence to a relative maturity. Kate Chopin's "Ripe Figs- covers a season in a young girl's life. Before Babette can visit her cousins, the figs need to ripen. At first the leaves of the fig trees were tender and the figs were "little hard, green marbles" (Chopin, 3). Each day she would walk slowly beneath the leaves and would go away disappointed. Then one day she saw something that made her "sing and dance the whole long day" (Chopin, 4)- the figs were ripe. "Graduation- covers just one day in Maya Angelou's life - her 8th grade graduation. This commencement is the biggest thing in town and is very important to Maya for she herself says, "He allowed me to live to see this day-(Angelou, 856). This story begins with anticipation, moves into disappointment, and ultimately ends with hope and pride. .
             Both stories begin with two innocent young girls who have something to look forward to and are anticipating something. Babette is looking forward to visiting her cousins away from home, however, Maman-Nainaine makes her wait until the figs are ripened. So now Babette anticipates the day when the figs do eventually ripen. Similarly, Maya Angelou is looking forward to her graduation, which gives her high hopes for her future.
             What is interesting about both these stories is that they both have someone who helps move them from innocence to maturity. Without these important people, they may never have moved forward in their lives. In Babette's case, Maman-Nainaine is the person who helps her move forward. After all, she is the one who tells Babette she must wait until the figs are ripened. Likewise, Maya Angelou's "someone- was Henry Reed. After Donleavy had made his degrading speech, Maya's hope turns to discouragement and self-doubt. If Henry had not sung the Negro National Anthem, Maya may never have accomplished what she has done in her life.

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