The narrator of “A Pair of Silk Stockings” suggests that women go to see the afternoon plays for three reasons. What are they?

The narrator of “A Pair of Silk Stockings” suggests that women go to see the afternoon plays for numerous reasons. In the audience with Mrs. Sommers are women in bright clothes who are there to pass the time, eat sweets, and show off their colorful clothes. Other people have gone to enjoy the play and the actors’ performances. Mrs. Sommers greatly enjoys both the play and the theater environment.

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Kate Chopin’s story “A Pair of Silk Stockings” uses a third-person narrator who speaks from a limited-omniscient perspective, primarily offering insights into Mrs. Sommers’ thoughts. The protagonist, Mrs. Sommers, spends a morning shopping, has a nice lunch, and then continues her impulsive behavior by deciding to see a matinee. As she is far from wealthy and devotes much of her time to caring for her children, it is entirely out of character for her to attend the theater—especially in the middle of the day.

As she had not planned to go, she actually enters the theater after the play has already started. Surveying the nearly full audience, she is guided by an usher to a seat next to a group of women; they seem quite used to attending matinees. Mrs. Sommers takes note of what they are eating and how they are dressed. She sat

between brilliantly dressed women who had gone there to kill time and eat candy and display their gaudy attire.

In contrast to these three reasons, which the narrator implies are superficial or shallow, Mrs. Sommers notices that other patrons are genuinely interested in the theater. The narrator does not specify if all the “many others” present include both men and women. This group has come “solely for the play and acting.”

Mrs. Sommers is not quite like either group, and she especially stands out for her enthusiastic appreciation.

It is safe to say there was no one present who bore quite the attitude which Mrs. Sommers did to her surroundings. She gathered in the whole—stage and players and people in one wide impression, and absorbed it and enjoyed it.

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