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            Kate Chopin's Symbolic Use of Nature.
             Kate Chopin uses nature and symbolism throughout her three short stories. Her vivid use of nature and its elements allow the reader to get a realistic view of the characters and their setting. By using nature to represent the feelings of her characters, Chopin allows the reader to evoke emotions they might have felt during similar times or situations. A simple example of symbolism would be the use a dark forest in a story. The dark forest could possible represent evil or confusion (1380). Like the example Chopin uses a specific season like spring or naturally occurring thunderstorms to symbolize new life or uncontrollable passion. .
             In the first story the reader encounters Babette and Maman-Nainaine. Quickly the reader learns that Babette is waiting for the figs to ripen before she is allowed to visit her cousins. Figs have little if nothing to do with Babette being able to leave, but instead they symbolize her coming of age. Figs tend to ripen in late spring to early summer. Spring and summer are times of life and growth. So Babette is like a ripening fig that has to grow and mature before its ready. Finally when the figs ripen Maman-Nainaine says, "How early the figs have ripened this year!"(4) Babette's response is "I think they have ripened very late"(4). Babette is trying to say to Maman that she is mature and that she has been for quite some time. On the other hand Maman is telling Babette that she has ripened into a young lady very quickly. Chopin's use of symbolism in this story is easy for most readers to relate to because we have all been in a situation similar to Babette's at one time. Eventually we all ripen as Babette does in .
             "Ripe Figs".
             Chopin's use of spring carries over to "The Story of an Hour". The reader fins the fragile Mrs. Mallard coming to the realization that her husband is dead. For most people this type of tragedy would be the start of a time of sadness; however, the reader quickly sees that this is not so for Mrs.

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