The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Synopsis

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Theme in Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

Rick Snelling
Eng 125
Professor Jessica Guire
July 18, 2012

Thesis statement: In “The Secret life of Walter Mitty” Thurber’s character Walter, an ordinary man, uses his imagination to fulfill a fantasy life. Walter becomes a hero, saves lives, charters enemy territories and proves his masculinity while living a fantasy. Thurber uses several different themes in the short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. Through many adventures Walter increases his self esteem and masculinity. Thurber pulls in his readers by setting these themes so that the readers can relate to the life that Walter is living. Like Walter, many readers would like to escape reality and enter a fantasy life whether through daydreaming or any other means.” Fantasy is the heart of the story, Thurber’s character escapes from the never ending demands of his wife. Many of the best moments in life can be those when we are doing anything, staring out a window admiring a view or imagining ourselves as a heroic figure in a dramatic scenario.”(Hall, 2007)Thurber accomplishes this by using different literary elements in the short story; symbolism and character are two he uses often. The characters of Walter Mitty, Mrs. Mitty, Parking Attendant, Policeman, and Garage man are everyday people that readers can relate to throughout the story. Walter is the common man that becomes the hero, Mrs. Mitty is the nagging and dominating wife that seems to bring Walter back to reality through the story. The policeman, parking attendant and garage man are all characters that seem to ignite the daydreaming of Walter because of his inferior masculine attributes. Through Walter’s daydreams, he is able to escape the demands of his boring everyday life. Walters becomes a hero in his daydreams; he is a Navy Pilot fighting in battle, then he is an esteemed surgeon, a marksman shooter on trial for murder, a famous World War 1 “Red Barron” type pilot and finally a...
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