The attempt to escaping reality proves to be a timeless act in "A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin. The wishful Mrs. Sommers surprisingly finds herself with a sum of money unusually large for her circumstances and in her relishing and spending it reveals herself to be truly a woman of good intentions but who is weak for the intensity of the moment. Chopin has developed a character in Mrs. Sommers who plays out the fantasy of all people, rich or poor: to be someone they are not and for a day live someone else's life. Mrs. Sommers demonstrates characteristics of a prized knight such as chivalry and frugality yet confirms her mere humanity by indulging herself in the world's material pleasures.
Mrs. Sommers is a diligent homemaker who is chivalrous to her children's needs. When coming upon this grand sum of money and contemplating how to use the funds, her first thoughts are of her children's needs and not her own. Her mind wonders not to ways she may spoil herself but rather to ways in which she could improve her children's belongings creating for them a better life than for herself. "The vision of her little brood looking fresh and dainty and new for once in their lives excited her" (194). Chopin brings Mrs. Sommers pure intentions into clear view and with this snippet of information about her lets the reader realize that Mrs. Sommers has her priorities in line and bears a humble heart. Also in telling of Mrs. Sommers desires for her children, Chopin makes known of this mother's hard working attitude toward her position in life. As Mrs. Sommers considers the new apparel she may buy her family, she thinks over the duties that fil...
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...rment. In this way Mrs. Sommers characterizes all women in that she appreciates the simple material pleasures, and through her, the reader can have an insight into the souls of women.
The characteristics displayed in Mrs. Sommers are those of a valiant woman who simply needs a lapse from the usual happenings of her life. She displays qualities of an ideal mother in that she puts her children before herself, the ideal wife because she is prudent with money, and she attempts the ideal fantasy - to escape reality. Her standards are high but reachable. Mrs. Sommers is an identifiable mannerism to any woman. Kate Chopin created a magnificent female character in Mrs. Sommers, which gives hope to women and maybe a little clarification to men.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Selected Stories. New York: Viking Penguin/Penguin, 1984. 262-66.
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