Why is it that the color of silk stockings that are available are light-blue, lavender, tan, black and gray?"A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A notable characteristic of Kate Chopin's "A Pair of Silk Stockings" is the richness of its descriptions, descriptions which contribute greatly to the mood of each scene. In a scene in which Mrs. Sommers escapes briefly from the "gaunt monster" of the future, and the weariness of having to find a bargain and instead gives in to the seductive lure of finer things, Chopin uses much imagery to convey the attractiveness of the silk stockings. 

That the stockings are available in varied colors and shades indicates that they are a subtle item for the rich who can afford beauty over function.  This subtlety of colors makes the stockings all the more luxuriously seductive to Mrs. Sommers, whose economy has forbidden such beautiful and frivolous an item.  The visual imagery connected to the stockings changes to the tactile as Mrs. Sommers finds a place to remove her practical cotton stockings and revel in the soft, gliding touch of her new raw silk stockings:

How good was the touch of the raw silk to her flesh!  She felt like lying back in the cushioned chair and reveling for a while in the luxury of it.  She did for a while.

Clearly, the rich and sensory descriptions of the many-colored silk stockings serve to convey the physical as well as mental variety and pleasure that Mrs. Sommers derives from her brief day of indulging herself, a day of relaxation and joy which, like the cable car, she wishes would "never stop anywhere, but go on...forever."


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