’s A Pair Of Silk Stockings: Mrs. Sommers Essay, Research Paper

Chopin’s A Pair of Silk Stockings: Mrs. Sommers

Mrs. Sommers, of Kate Chopin’s “A Pair of Silk Stockings” faces a major

Man-vs.-Society conflict. She is a perfect example of how humans are tempted

by material gain, “the life of luxury”, and the vicious way society judges

things (or people). Society views people who live in the lap of luxury as

“gods”, they are above those who are not so fortunate. Anyone can fall prey to

this common societal problem, even innocent “Little Mrs. Sommers”. This is

evident when she can feel the fifteen dollars in her porte-monnaie and she says

“it gave her a feeling of importance such as she had not enjoyed for years”.

At first Kate Chopin portrays Mrs. Sommers as an innocent little lady

who believes in “family first”. This is apparent when Mrs. Sommers “walks

about in a dreamy state” contemplating what to buy and ends up with a huge plan

to make her little brood look “fresh and dainty”. To those around her, Mrs.

Sommers is this innocent family lady. However, the minute she buys the silk

stockings is the minute she becomes a different Mrs. Sommers. All of a sudden

everything she has in not good enough, she looks at her shopping bag as

“shabby” and “old”. Her parcel is “very small”. At this point, she wants more.

She begins to think without reason, and loses her sense of responsibility when

she puts the stockings on in the ladies room. Mrs. Sommers is “not going

through any acute mental process or reasoning with herself”, she is “not

thinking at all” at this point.

Mrs. Sommers’s mind is not working like it used to at the beginning.

All of a sudden nothing is too expensive, she eats the expensive restaurant,

buys shoes, gloves, and magazines “such as she had become accustomed to read in

those days”. These things give Mrs. Sommers a “feeling of assurance, a sense

of belonging to the well-dressed multitude”. Now, she is one of those rich

important people, and everyone knows it, thanks to all the material things she

has. This becomes evident when Chopin says “She was fastidious, and she was

not too easily pleased”.

The end of the play signifies the end of Mrs. Sommers’s “luxurious

times”. Mrs. Sommers is lost with all the other “gaudy” women, when, “like a

dream ended”, the play ends, and Mrs. Sommers is struck by reality. The

reality that she is not one of them at heart, she is merely Little Mrs. Sommers.

To the man on the cable car Mrs. Sommers looks like “another one of those rich

women”, when internally, there is a “powerful longing, a poignant wish to go on

and on” that goes undetected by the average individual. When the man,

representing the average individual, is looking at her, it becomes apparent

that because of material things, people can seem to be something (or someone)

they are not. So, in conclusion, just because society views something as “the

right way”, or “the best kind”, it does not mean that it is the right way or

the best kind. Like Mrs. Sommers, humans will almost always pay for being


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