Here is Barbara Klein with the story. Little Missus Sommers one day found herself the unexpected owner of fifteen dollars. It seemed to her a very large amount of money. The way it filled up her worn money holder gave her a feeling of importance that she had not enjoyed for years. The question of investment was one she considered carefully. For a day or two she walked around in a dreamy state as she thought about her choices.

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Sommers finds herself in possession of fifteen dollars. Sommers is of central importance to this story. There is no account of place or time, or even an explanation of where she got the money—instead, the story is squarely focused on her thoughts and feelings.

At first glance, Mrs. Sommers seems shallow, as she is preoccupied with money and self-importance. However, the admission that she is a woman of little means who has not felt significant or meaningful for many years paints her as a sympathetic character. Sommers is completely consumed by the question of how to spend her small windfall.

She plans to find enough bargains to stretch the fifteen dollars as far as she can, enabling her to buy a gown, new shoes, shirt waists, stockings, caps and sailor-hats, all for her children. Sommers seems like a modest and sensible woman; she is dedicated to her family and longs to provide the best for her children. She is clearly quite stretched by her chores and duties because she is thrilled by the idea of reducing her workload a little.

Accomplished in all the feminine skills necessary for the successful running of a household, and selflessly committed to the needs of her family above her own, Mrs. Sommers perfectly embodies the late nineteenth-century social vision of working-class domesticity.

Sommers, however, does not like to think of the past, or indeed of the future, and instead dedicates all her time and energy to completing her duties as best she can. By suggesting that Mrs. Women rarely inherited family wealth, and were often pressured into unhappy marriages in order to secure their futures.

Today, however, she is faint when she arrives at the department store to begin her shopping trip. During the busy morning of chores and caring for her children, she has forgotten to eat, leaving her feeble and fatigued.

She is a depleted woman, exhausted by the emotional and physical demands of motherhood and family life. Meanwhile, the militarized language likens Mrs. Sommers and her forthcoming shopping trip to a soldier preparing for battle.

Sommers approaches bargain hunting as if it were an exhausting fight; it requires methodical planning, strategy, and great mental and physical strength. For poor women like Mrs.

Sommers, budget constraints make these extreme measures necessary. Download it! As she braces herself to begin shopping, Mrs. Sommers accidentally brushes her hand against a pair of silk stockings.

This climactic moment symbolizes an important shift in Mrs. Sommers as she begins to escape from the confines of her ordinary life. This turning point also marks a sort of sensual awakening of Mrs.

Despite her better judgment, she cannot resist the beauty of the stockings and eventually gives into temptation. Unlike Eve, however, who is punished and shamed for her deviance, Chopin seems to reward Mrs. Sommers by presenting the stockings as the key to unlocking her long-repressed desires. Modest, humble, virtuous Mrs. Sommers experiences an exciting rush of desire, embodied by the feverish blush adorning her cheeks. The sensuous language surrounding the stockings connotes female sexuality, a concept that nineteenth-century society rejected as offensive and immoral.

By permitting Mrs. Sommers to give into temptation, Chopin counters this prevalent belief and suggests that women can —and should— embrace pleasure and value their own wants and needs above those of their husbands. Sommers promptly goes to the dressing room to put on her new silk stockings. As she does so, she experiences a strange, exciting sensation. For the first time, perhaps in years, she escapes from the burden of thinking, planning, or serving others. In an extension of the serpent imagery connected with the silk stockings, here Mrs.

Sommers peels off her old stockings, as if shedding the skin of her old identity. Her transformation is complete when she puts on her new silk stockings. The simple act of taking a moment to relax in a comfortable chair symbolizes how she is now motivated not by the needs and expectations of others, but by her own pleasure. Sommers makes a beeline for the shoe department. The clerk there is surprised by the combination of her luxurious silk stockings and otherwise shabby appearance, but Mrs.

Sommers is in a good mood, and is immune to his judgment. Sommers enjoys a newfound sense of self-confidence as she exerts the authority afforded to her through her spending power over the clerk. However, the fact that she still finds it difficult to recognize her own beauty—having trouble believing that her fashionably clad feet truly belong to her—reveals her low self-worth.

In this passage, Chopin interrogates the seductive appeal of consumerism, which promises women a certain brand of femininity, self-expression, and social esteem, if they can only keep up with the latest fashion trends. After, she wanders to a magazine stand down the block.

Sommers then carries her unwrapped magazines in her arms and hikes up her skirt as she crosses the street. Sommers is not finding lasting happiness in her purchases. Instead, she has been lured into parting with her precious dollars by the fleeting thrill she receives with each purchase.

Further, it becomes clear that Mrs. Sommers carries her magazines without wrappings and hikes up her skirt to reveal her boots and stockings so that everyone can see her luxurious purchases; this suggests that approval and acceptance are motivating factors behind her imprudent behavior. Sommers feels incredibly hungry all of a sudden. She feels uncertain about entering the restaurant and fears the exclusion or ridicule she might face from the fashionable clientele inside, but her entrance goes unnoticed.

The image of Mrs. Sommers outside of the restaurant, looking in, is a poignant reminder of her position as an outsider. Sommers longs to belong to the fashionable middle class but has not recently had the means—or the confidence—to enter their glamorous world. However, her external transformation, and the growing self-assurance it has brought her, culminates in her bold decision to enter the restaurant. Following her oysters and lamp chop, she orders dessert, wine, and a coffee, all the while flipping idly through one of her new magazines.

When Mrs. Sommers leaves a tip for her attentive waiter, he bows to her as if she were some splendid member of the royal family. The allusion to the royal family suggests that Mrs. Sommers feels acknowledged and admired. However, her newfound social acceptance is conditional; as she orders dish after dish at the restaurant, readers are reminded that her budget must surely soon reach its limits, and that her performance is unsustainable.

Active Themes Mrs. Sommers has enough money for one last splurge. Sommers, who relishes every moment of the experience in a state of complete awe. Sommers as they chat, laugh, and weep together during the show. It is clear that the well-dressed women have assumed that Mrs. Sommers belongs to their social set, but that her acceptance hangs precariously on her outer appearance and behavior.

Chopin exposes the absurdity of American consumerism, and the superficiality of the social class system, when Mrs. Sommers a poor, working-class nobody , is able to rub shoulders with the wealthy and fashionable without them realizing her true identity. Had this been an ordinary day for Mrs. Sommers, she would have presumably faced judgment and rejection from the very same woman who now shares her sweets with Mrs.

Although Mrs. Sommers enjoys her theater experience with the women, her sense of belonging is ultimately an illusion. Active Themes As the play ends, Mrs.

A man watches Mrs. Sommers, observing her paleness, her figure, and her clothes. The man on the cable car is puzzled by Mrs. Sommers and is unable to draw any conclusions about her. Meanwhile, Mrs. The cable car voyeur tries desperately to understand Mrs. Sommers, reducing her to her body and exterior appearance. Sommers pays no notice of him, however, as she is far busier dreading her inevitable return home.

She will shortly be required to resume her household duties and devote herself once more to her exhausting responsibilities, a life that is perhaps no longer enough for her after her day of luxury. Farnham, Harriet. Retrieved March 10, Copy to Clipboard.


A Pair of Silk Stockings

Sommers one day found herself the unexpected possessor of fifteen dollars. It seemed to her a very large amount of money, and the way in which it stuffed and bulged her worn old porte-monnaie gave her a feeling of importance such as she had not enjoyed for years. The question of investment was one that occupied her greatly. For a day or two she walked about apparently in a dreamy state, but really absorbed in speculation and calculation. She did not wish to act hastily, to do anything she might afterward regret.


A Pair of Silk Stockings by Kate Chopin: Setting & Characters

Sommers finds herself in possession of fifteen dollars. Sommers is of central importance to this story. There is no account of place or time, or even an explanation of where she got the money—instead, the story is squarely focused on her thoughts and feelings. At first glance, Mrs. Sommers seems shallow, as she is preoccupied with money and self-importance.


'A Pair of Silk Stockings' by Kate Chopin

Plot summary[ edit ] Mrs. After a few days of reflection, she decides to use the money to purchase clothing for her children so they may look "fresh and dainty and new for once in their lives. Sommers had been before her marriage a wealthy woman, but now "needs of the present absorbed her every faculty. Sommers rests at a counter where she will begin her shopping adventure. There she finds a pair of silk stockings for sale and is entranced by their smoothness. She purchases boots to go with her stockings, buys fitted kid gloves, reads expensive magazines while lunching at a high-class restaurant, and ends her day sharing chocolates with a fellow theatre goer.

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Kate Chopin's Short Stories Summary and Analysis of "A Pair of Silk Stockings"

Her name remain intact in my blockhead and so I was glad to spot and seize this little volume in a little library. This is a little book, fiftyish pages with five stories of equalish length, so they average out as short. Now I will digress and hopefully circle back to this book. Somebody gave my sister Becoming by Michelle Obama and because I am a high sociable and out going type of person view spoiler [ and always honest view spoiler [ except when I am not hide spoiler ] hide spoiler ]. I have ideally leafed through a good deal of the book and read it with a certain degree of slack jawed, wide-eyed amazement because it strikes me as such a regressive book. Here is a woman who we are only reading about because of her husband and who is presenting herself as the good wife and helpmate who walks a step behind him, she does not wish to appear to be a driving and dynamic force in his political life. Perhaps enough of those ten pages can transform a person, or open them up to the possibilities of being a different person.

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