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A Pair of Silk Stockings
7. At the beginning of this novella, it is stated that Mrs. Sommers has known “better days” (505). Although the fact that Mrs. Sommers knows how to stretch her fifteendollars with “speculation and calculation” (505) insinuates that she has managed to adjust well to poverty, she nonetheless relishes the opportunity to revisit the richer days of her past. Ultimately, herpurchases give her a fleeting sense of “assurance” (508). With this in mind, Barbara C. Ewell’s claim that money has the power to “enhance self-esteem and confidence” seems most applicable to thestory. Through the course of the narrative, Mrs. Sommers’ transformation from a listless woman to a glamorous yet wistful member of society is brought upon by the possession of money. The idea that moneyis the catalyst for Mrs. Sommers’ confidence and self-esteem is supported by how her feelings move from hesitant and doubtful to impulsive and reckless. While in Mrs. Sommers’ case the confidence inher purchases may be excessive and a negative quality, the carefree spending that she enjoys is nonetheless brought upon by the confidence that having the money brings. Additionally, Mrs. Sommers’preoccupation with her external image is also shown in the restraint scene, where “her appearance created no surprise… as she half feared it might” (508). This excerpt shows how Mrs. Sommers’ self-esteemhas been bolstered by her ability to walk into the fancy restaurant without being questioned. Throughout the narrative, the excessive and opulent extravagances that Mrs. Sommers buys arecharacteristic of the careless nature brought upon by excessive confidence. At the root of the other philosophies, the main contributing factor towards any personal struggle is only brought upon by the suddenboost of confidence that Mrs. Sommers initially receives from possessing the money. So although the story may have parallels on a larger scale with feminism and class struggle, the root of the story is...
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