In S. G. Tyler’s story “Alice’s Snazzy Pajamas”, a poor, hard-working woman finds a silken treasure, a pair of barely used, expensive pajamas in the local Goodwill Thrift Store. These pajamas become her special escape, her window with a view, from her hard life into a glamorous world, like Hollywood, that she may never know. Sadly, her nephew spills juice on the pajamas and it becomes ruined. Alice still keeps the pajamas, and takes them out now and again, carefully arranging it so the stains are hidden. She never wears them again.
Throughout the story, Tyler uses symbolism to show that there is always time for your dreams in spite of reality, even in the smallest things. In the beginning of the story, Alice is searching for cheap, functional sleepwear in a back corner of the store where she finds beauty instead. She finds a soft, magical piece of silk that can take her to another world, fulfill her dreams in a small way. She finds silk pajamas for only $3 that normally would have cost $220. “Alice had never owned anything like it. Never expected to. She was spellbound just looking at them”(3).Order now
With these pajamas, she feels like a movie star. “She felt like someone special”(4). She can pretend that tomorrow she doesn”t have to get up and slave away another day. As soon as Alice gets off work, she looks forward to her pajamas. She has to fight to find a seat on the bus ride home. While she rides, she fantasizes about a life where you could have the best things without a struggle. “Her pajamas got her through four and a half months”(5). She treats her pajamas with the greatest of care, washing it in Ivory Snow, hang drying , ironing, and hanging it up in her doorway so she can see them.
They are so important to her, she only wears them “an hour or so every night after a shower and before going to bed”(5). When Alice wears her pajamas, she likes to “pose” in them, get even deeper into her fantasy of the “good life”. She places pillows all around herself and watches TV or reads movie magazines. Then one night, Alice has already removed her “special” pajamas and she is still holding onto her fantasy by reading about the Academy Awards in bed. Reality comes knocking on her door in the form of Alice’s sister and her sister’s two children.
Her sister has just left her husband, whom Alice refers to as “the bastard”(6). She finds her laundry basket with dirty clothes in it, dumps it on the table and decides to use it for the baby to sleep in and gives her nephew a drink and a pencil and paper to draw with so Alice can focus on her sister. While Alice tries to get the whole story from her sobbing sister, her nephew spills grape juice on the table and all over her pajamas, ruining it. The juice stains on Alice’s pajamas will not come out and so ends her daily dreams of glamour.
She feels that her dream has now been tainted, somehow ruined, like the pajamas. “She ironed them smooth, folded them in tissue paper, and put them away in the bottom drawer of her dresser with a lavender sachet”(9). Alice packs away her dream, lovingly and carefully, saved for another time when she can take it out and look and remember. Alice returns to Goodwill every week, looking for nice things. She does find some things in other parts of the store that catch her eye, but none as great as her pajamas. “Though she never found anything much in the lingerie corner, Alice kept looking”(9).
She never gives up hope that one day she will achieve her dream of a better life. Alice’s pajamas transport her into another world, a world where dreams come true. She feels more confident, better than ever, just for having had a glimpse into a better life. She knows, with every fiber in her being, that someday her wishes, hopes and dreams will come true. As the last line states, “knowing those snazzy pajamas were at home in her drawer was enough. She knew anything was possible”(10). With that final word, Tyler assures us that even small things can help us to hang onto life’s silk moments.