A pair of Silk Stocking is a story that follows the life of a simple woman, Mrs. Sommers, which is not filled with luxuries, but is instead modest and follows that which she desires. The story displays a number of distinct social themes, which are discussed in this essay following the occurrences in Mrs. Sommers’ life.
The themes portrayed in A Pair of Silk Stocking involve the use of social ability in terms of socio-economic ability where not everybody is well endowed in reference to money. As such, the first theme presented in the story is that of the power of money, where it is portrayed by Mrs. Sommers who comes across some money, which to her becomes a large amount as per her perception, but not the reality of life. With this, she considers the possibilities of what the money can do for her, it is through these moments of deliberation, overnight, that she thinks of how the money can be used to improve her life and that of her children. “A dollar and ninety-eight cents,” she mused aloud. “Well, I’ll take this pair.” She handed the girl a five-dollar bill and waited for her change and for her parcel” (Chopin). This makes the themes evident by seeing that she can buy shoes for her children, which can then last a longer period than the shoes her children had then, which shows the power of having money in society. In addition, the story highlights the same theme by having Mrs. Sommers feels her silk socks which makes her feel elated, as well as buying boots to go with her socks.
The second social theme presented in the story is that of public opinion on people who lack funds or finances. With this in mind, the story reflects Mrs. Sommers as not bargaining for her purchases prior to buying as she normally does. This follows her failure to even eat lunch, where she goes to lounge before her shopping, at which point that she discovers that her stockings are made of luxurious fabric and asks the attendant to find her a pair of boots. With this in mind, the theme can better be understood with the use of how she looks into the life of her children, where she perceives them as being of more value if they are endowed with expensive clothes and those that will last. In order to make the theme appear more solid, there is also the presence of lack of experience in the finer things found in life such s spending money on luxuries, such as attending a show in the local theatre. “It was a little later when she entered the theatre, the play had begun and the house seemed to her to be packed” (Chopin). The concept of being the theatre and traveling in a cable car show that she perceives life full of luxuries as being perfect and worth continuing.
The other theme is that of the perfect world and life for the society, which brings about the dilemma of Mrs. Sommers on how to spend her newfound funds. Putting this into perspective shows that the society in which Mrs. Sommers lives aspires to do the most with the little funds or finances that they have. “There was still money in her purse, and her next temptation presented itself in the shape of a matinée poster” (Chopin). This is what leads to Mrs. Sommers having a small dilemma, which further leads to the issue of temptation, where she ends up buying items on impulse with no regard for her money and earlier aspirations. As such, the perfect world is portrayed by the wishful thinking and spending habits of Mrs. Sommers at the end of the story, as well as her desire for finer things in life, where she does not have to be responsible.
Altogether, in the story, the different themes found therein represent the desires of the society, and the expectations, as well as the problems experienced by those in financial difficulties. Therefore, it is a story with social implications with issues that affect society from a personal view and from a societal angle.
Chopin, Kate. A Pair of Silk Stockings. 1890. Web. 20 May 2013