In "A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin, the protagonist, Mrs. Sommer, is portrayed as a wife and mother in a family that is struggling with money issues. Mrs. Sommer contributes to the family's well being by essentially making a full-time job of saving money. She normally spends her days going from shop to shop to find bargains. Readers don't get many details about her home life; we are not told whether she is single, divorced, widowed, or married to a man who lacks money. What we do know is that she lives in a city where she can constantly see around her a life she cannot afford. She may also have originally been from a well-off family and thus have tastes far above her financial means.
She is not reconciled to her current life. She feels as if her individuality and personal needs are being subsumed by her economic functions and duty to her family. In her temporary rebellion and her one day of enjoying something for herself, she breaks out of a life in which she feels trapped by poverty, but she cannot afford to escape permanently.