The Character of Mrs. Sommers in Chopin’s A Pair of Silk Stockings
In “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” the author Kate Chopin portrays Mrs. Sommers as a realistic character by giving her human traits. When Mrs. Sommers suddenly received fifteen dollars, she set out shopping to spend it all on her children. While she was out, her head felt “faint and tired” and “when she thought about it “between getting the children fed and the place righted, and preparing herself for the shopping bout, she actually [forgot] to eat” (Chopin 438). Mrs. Sommers, so caught up with her tasks, skips a meal, a daily mishap in some lives. When she veers off the original plan and starts buying anything she fancied, Mrs. Sommers lets go of any “mental process or reasoning with herself,” stops thinking, and “[abandons] herself to some mechanical impulse that [directs] her actions and [frees] her of responsibility”(Chopin 439-440). She simply stops caring about her decisions and becomes impulsive, which is typically shown in mentally exhausted and burned out people; many Americans today. After the shopping spree, as she crossed the busy street, her improved outfit; “her stockings and boots and well fitting gloves had worked marvels in her bearing [giving] her assurance, a sense of belonging to the well-dressed multitude” alongside her (Chopin 441). Chopin bears light on one of the major instincts in human nature: the need to conform to society and fit in, a feeling that a number of people find comforting. Throughout Chopin’s short story “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” she adds many relatable flaws to Mrs. Sommers, making her a believable character to her audience.