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Irony, the discrepancy between appearances and reality, is present throughout "A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin. Initially when Mrs. Sommers receives the windfall of some money, she plans the "judicious use of the money." However, ironically, it is not for the children that she spends her money, nor is her choice frugal, although this is what she ponders:
The question of investment was one that occupied her greatly....But it was during the still hours of the night when she lay awake resolving plans in her mind that she seemed to see her way clearly toward a proper and judicious use of the money.
Chopin continues her description of Mrs. Sommers, writing ironically that she "was one who knew the value of bargains; who could stand for hours making her way inch by inch toward the desired object.." when, in fact, Mrs.Sommers indulges herself quietly and quickly.
Another example of irony is Mrs. Sommers's practicality for her children, while her frivolous purchase of the stockings that certainly do not accompany her shoes certainly contradicts this frugality and conservative nature, as do her future purchases;
She was fastidious. The clerk could not make her out; he could not reconcile her shoes with her stockings, and she was not too easily pleased.
Further irony is apparent in how vain Mrs. Sommers, the woman who thinks first of her children, has become,
Her stockings and boots and well-fitting gloves had worked marvels in her bearing--had given her a feeling of assurance, a sense of belong to the well-dress multitude.
Even the title of Kate Chopin's story is ironic. For "A Pair of Silk Stockings" suggests a narrataive for the rich; however, it is really a message to the Vogue readers where it appeared, about how the other half lives.
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