What's the theme in "A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin?  

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The theme of "A Pair of Silk Stockings" is similar to that of other writing by Kate Chopin who explores the role of women in the home and society at the turn of the twentieth century.  In the story, the protagonist Mrs. Sommers is out shopping for clothing for her children.  Her family is not wealthy, so she must make every coin count.  To do this, she normally shops through the bargain bins; however, while at the store she is drawn to a pair of silk stockings.  She knows that if she buys the stockings, she will not have enough money to buy clothes for her children.  After battling this thought, she decides to buy the stockings and goes on to buy a pair of gloves and treat herself to an afternoon out on the town.  The story explores the tension between the expected role of women as providers for their families and the ideal role of women as autonomous citizens.  Chopin does not suggest through the story which is the "better" option--her goal is to highlight the tension between the two and question why the two roles seem to not be able to coexist.

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