ENG 125 Introduction to Literature
Professor Janelle Jalbert
May 28, 2012
Analysis of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
The literature that I chose to write an analysis on is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. This short story was written in 1939 by James Thurber. Thurber’s writing style for this story is very imaginative, humorous and symbolic. Thurber tells the story in a third- person point of view, which allows the narrator to reveal the thoughts of Walter as they take place. Walter Mitty is a meek husband with a very well meaning, but overbearing wife. In order to escape the constant nagging of his wife, Walter often finds himself escaping into imaginative scenarios where he is in charge, well respected and a hero. The setting of this story takes place in Walter’s car while traveling to Waterbury, Connecticut as well as in the city itself in the area of Main Street. Thurber makes use of symbolism several times in this short story. A symbol is an object, person, or action that conveys two meanings: its own literal meaning and something it stands for as well (Clugston 2010). Mrs. Mitty demands that Walter wear gloves, buy overshoes, slow down while driving, and have the tire chains removed. Even though these are real things that need to be done, it conveys another meaning of symbolizing her control over her husband Walter. Also, the daydreams that Walter has have guns and images of war in them. Even though this was something that was real at the time, since WWII was beginning, it also symbolizes how Walter longs to be masculine, however is very much the opposite. In this short story, Walter experiences five daydreams. When reading the story, you are immediately introduced to Walter’s first daydream. In this daydream he is a pilot of a navy hydroplane. He is steadily giving commanding orders when he is interrupted by his wife’s nagging. The second daydream takes place to...