ENG 125 Introduction to Literature
Prof. Alex Vuilleumier
August 1, 2011
Reader-Response Critical Essay On Mitty
Did you listen to anything that I just said to you, are you even paying attention to me at all? These words are often what I hear rolling off of my grandmother’s tongue, the constant bickering, everything needing to be done a certain way at a particular time. This seems to be the same way Walter Mitty lives his life in the short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber. I have elected to write a reader-response critical analysis on this shorty story to define why I found this short story to be alluring, how I related to each character, and how I was able to reminisce on my own life through the words of Thurber.
Instantly, the story starts with a daydream of Mitty’s, he is a commander of an 8-engine hydroplane trying to fight his way through a horrific storm. As the story goes on and the commander is screaming to switch the dials, I can feel the intensity, almost as though I am a co-pilot next to Mitty battling with the rest of the crew. Within seconds, his shrieking wife snaps Mitty out of his daydream, so fast that he barely recognizes her. As fast as this daydream occurs is as fast as reality sets in, and this is an ongoing process throughout the entire short story. Thurber made this story intriguing, leaving the reader with the anticipation of wondering what would be next. As his day goes on, he continues to daydream of various settings, no longer Walter Mitty, now a brilliant surgeon asked to assist in a procedure for a rich Englishman. Thurber strongly uses satire, “literary art that calls attention to the difference between what a particular thing should be and what it actually is,” (Clugson, 2010 Ch. 1.2). He uses the word coreopsis as though it is some kind of terrible disease, when in fact this is a beautiful, yellow, wildflower found throughout the world....