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2014/15 Group Reads - Archives > A Pair of Silk Stockings

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver Here you may discuss A Pair of Silk Stockings by Kate Chopin. If you have not finished the story spoilers may be posted here.


message 2: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 751 comments Oh, I loved this little story! So deceptively simple, and so on-the-mark.


message 3: by Raymunda (new)

Raymunda (raymundaj) Yes, it's a lovely little story! I never read anything by Kate Chopin before, so it was a pleasant surprise.


message 4: by Pip (new)

Pip | 468 comments This was also my first experience with Chopin.

From the outset I was struck by how much was said/hinted at and the questions asked by the opening sentence alone:

"Little Mrs. Sommers one day found herself the unexpected possessor of fifteen dollars.

So she's a small person (in stature? In importance? In self-esteem? All of the above?); she's married (or widowed? How old?); the surname suggests sunshine and happy days (is this truly descriptive of her present situation and outlook? It's also reminiscent of the phrase "many summers past" - good times gone?).... And then of course all the questions raised by her unexpectedly coming in to fifteen dollars. (How? From whom? How much purchasing power does that actually give her? What does $15 actually mean to a person like her?).

This is why I love a well-written short story; the economy of language, the power of so much said in so few words and the throwing us right into the action so that we are there immediately, wondering what to do with the money along with Mrs Sommers.

I had to keep reminding myself of when this was written too (1896). The episode is so incredibly modern - one of those "first world problems" we lucky few occasionally come up against. "Should I put my €500 lottery winnings towards the mortgage? Probably. No, hang it all! That iPhone 6 sounds incredible...".

While I was glad that Mrs Sommers fell into treating herself rather than buying new shoes for her children, the ending is melancholy. Although her family seem unlikely to be any worse off for her self-indulgence, I wonder how long the day will last in her memory. It seems to be fading already with every few metres the tram takes her back towards reality.


message 5: by Raymunda (new)

Raymunda (raymundaj) Pip wrote: "This is why I love a well-written short story; the economy of language, the power of so much said in so few words and the throwing us right into the action so that we are there immediately, wondering what to do with the money along with Mrs Sommers."

Yes, that's the beauty of short stories!

Also, it's amazing how something so simple as a touch (like the silk stockings on her hands) or a smell, can sometimes produce such a powerful response.


message 6: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1870 comments Mod
Pip, I agree that I was left feeling quite ambivalent-will this be a little bit of treasure that she will be able to enjoy, that will brighten her life, or will there be regrets/recriminations to come?

It was a lovely little vignette of that sense of being outside our usual self-of briefly having a chance to experience a life different from that which we normally live.


message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Just read this last night and had fun with it in another context, where the story seemed so applicable! Thanks for drawing the story to my attention. I wouldn't have known about it otherwise.

Happy New Year and great reading for 2015!


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