In the past three decades, an increasing number of female writers have taken up Simone de Beauvoir`s dual challenges concerning women and the elderly. They have created a new kind of fiction about aging women, who are typically invisible or marginalized, even within feminism. Barbara Frey Waxman, inspired by May Sarton`s concept of ripening toward death in a fruitful way, names the new genre the reifungsroman, or novel of ripening, to counter the usual notions of decline and stagnation in old age. May Sarton`s As We Are Now (1973) and Paule Marshall`s Praisesong for the Widow (1983), while expressing culturally and racially different hopes and anxieties about female aging, challenge the idea that decline and stagnation are all there is to senescence. While touching on the anxiety of the ``frail old spinster woman,`` Sarton`s text provides a context for intense feelings and depicts the opportunity for growth of an old woman in an isolated rural nursing home. Marshall`s postcolonial reifungsroman depicts a 64-year-old widow`s spiritual adventure to be a modern black female griot. The portraits of complex female individuals address and alleviate a deep -rooted fear and anxiety about old age and build on the idea of constructive aging in a rapidly aging society.