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Agree or disagree with feminist and Marxist interpretations of "A Pair of Silk...

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s-alkaladi93 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:45 AM via web

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Agree or disagree with feminist and Marxist interpretations of "A Pair of Silk Stockings"?

1. A feminist critic might say that this story is about a woman who is striving to gain personal freedom and identity. 2. A Marxist critic might say it’s about the class struggle 3. The critic Barbara C. Ewell writes,“The power of money to enhance selfesteem and confidence is the core of this poignant tale.”

Examine each critical viewpoint—do youagree or disagree with each? Why

 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 7, 2011 at 12:57 PM (Answer #1)

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1. The story is about a woman striving to gain personal freedom and identity Yes.

Kate Chopin writes of her character in "A Pair of Silk Stockings,"

She was not thinking at all.  She seemed for the time to be taking a rest from that laborious and fatiguing function and to have abandoned herself to some mechanical impulse that directed her actions and freed her of responsibility.

Mrs. Sommers seeks an escape from the vicissitudes of life that have put her into a position in which she must always be pragmatic and frugal.  Having changed her cotton stockings for silk ones, she splurges on herself as an escape from the quotidian.  Reveling in the enjoyment her lost freedoms and indulgings before her children, she wishes that the cable car would never stop.  Indeed, she rues the loss of her former life.

2. This is a story of class struggle  No.

Chopin's story is one of inner conflict.  Mrs. Sommers knows that her children need new clothes, but she escapes her quotidian duties and indulges in herself, instead.  The struggle is not one of class, but one of yearning for escape from the routine of self-sacrifice.

3.  "The power of money to enhance self-esteem and confidence is at the core of this poignant tale." No.

Rather than feeling empowered by the extra money that she has, Mrs. Sommers enjoys the escape from her day-to-day duties and her delight in being able to indulge in her own designs and pamper herself.  In other words, Mrs. Sommers feels more like the lady that she once was.  The silk stockings and new shoes and gloves make her feel young and feminine again.  Thus, she feels better about herself because she feels more attractive and carefree.

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