In the stories A Pair of Silk Stockings by Kate Chopin and A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather, the main characters go through life experiences that completely change the way they perceive themselves and the world around them. The main character in A Pair of Silk Stockings is a lady named Mrs. Sommers who became the unexpected possessor of fifteen dollars. Originally she had no intention of spending the money on herself until she was lured into buying the luxurious silk stockings. Mrs. Sommers indulged herself the rest of the day which really boosted her self confidence. The main character in A Wagner Matinee is a lady called Aunt Georgiana who used to be a young, music teacher. She is now old and worn from years on the farm. After a short visit with her nephew and a trip to the opera, she opened up and remembered her passion for music. The two ladies have experiences in the stories that are very similar but are different enough to make them their own.
Both of the main characters had past experiences that faded and were left behind as they married and aged. In the beginning of A Pair of Silk Stockings, it said that the neighbors sometimes talked of certain better days before she became Mrs. Sommers. This hints that Mrs. Sommers was once a pretty wealthy young lady but after marriage and kids that was left in the past. Aunt Georgiana also had those so-called better days in her past, when she used to be a music teacher at the Boston Conservatory. She left that behind when she decided to get married to Howard Carpenter and live on a farm.
Mrs. Sommers and Aunt Georgianas experiences are also similar because both experiences recollected the past and left a major impact on the two characters. Mrs. Sommers had the opportunity to indulge herself for the day, probably like she was used to in her childhood. After being a mother and living for her children for so long she was not used to spending money on herself, and she was not used to fitting in with the wealthy and well-to-do class. Finally when she was able to blend in with the upper class she had more self-esteem and felt important and worthwhile. When Aunt Georgiana first arrived at her nephews house she was very distant and somewhat depressed, however, after he took her to visit the opera her whole attitude changed. Her love of music flowed back to her and she wept because she didnt want to leave.
These two experiences are different, though, are different because Mrs. Sommers chose to indulge herself and Aunt Georgiana was kind of forced into it by her nephew. Mrs. Sommers originally planned to spend the money on her children, but she couldnt help but to treat herself to such fine pampering. Aunt Georgiana, on the other hand, had no intention of doing anything with music and would not have if it hadnt been for her nephew inviting her to the opera. Without him she wouldnt have been able to go through so a great experience.
These two stories were very alike in their message although the experiences were different. The ladies both had pasts that were better than their present situation and they both had experiences that changed their whole attitude and outlook on life. Whether or not, the experience was chosen or whether it was forced upon them, it still turned out for the better.