What does Mrs. Sommers end up doing with the money in "A Pair of Silk Stockings"?

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lhurley2844 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "A Pair of Silk Stockings," Mrs. Sommers becomes the "unexpected possessor of fifteen dollars." As she ponders what to do with the money, she considers her children. The "vision of her little brood looking fresh and dainty and new" is appealing to her. However, she finds herself sitting at a sales counter where her hand happens to touch a pair of silk stockings. This becomes her first of many purchases.

Next, Mrs. Sommers heads to the shoe department where she purchases a pair of boots to go with her new stockings. After purchasing gloves, she buys two magazines "such as she had been accustomed to read in the days when she had been accustomed to other pleasant things." Mrs. Sommers then heads to a restaurant, where she enjoys a small meal. Normally, she would have gone home and eaten whatever was available. Thoroughly enjoying her experience, she decides that her next stop will be the theater, where she watches a play. After the play ends, Mrs. Sommers feels "like a dream ended." She boards a cable car, and secretly wishes that her journey would not come to an end.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "A Pair of Silk Stockings, Mrs. Sommers" buys a dream. For, instead of being frugal which she has had to be since she "had thought of being Mrs. Sommers." She indulges herself in the temptation which strikes her as she touches a pair of silk stockings which have an alluring feel: "feel[ing] them glide serpent-like through her fingers." In a brief moment of guilt--"Two hectic blothces came suddenly into her pale cheeks"--Mrs. Sommers succumbs purchases the silk stockings. Once she has bought them, she feels that she must have shoes to match the luxuriousness of the stockings. Having sacrificed for so long, Mrs. Sommers continues now to please herself by indulging in other "excesses." She feels as she used to feel before she was married and had to be selfless on behalf of her children; she regains her own person and wishes at the end of the day that the cable car would go on forever with her as she is.

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A Pair of Silk Stockings

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