The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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A Literary Critic of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
Christy Clark
ENG125: Introduction to Literature
Kyla Hammond

A Literary Critic of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
The story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a form of a short story genre variety. This story was written by James Thurber, and published in The New Yorker in 1939 (Clugston, 2010). This is an intriguing story of a daydreaming husband, Walter Mitty, and his domineering wife as they run a few errands to town. I will make use of literary criticism by explaining my connection to the story, analyzing the meaning of the story, and taking the formalistic approach in discussing James Thurber’s story.

My connection to this story is strongly held by the fact that I am also a daydreamer. I will admit this is a frustrating characteristic for others, but for one’s self as well; eventhough, the situations discussed in the story seem quite humorous to the reader. Mr. Thurber presents the tone, or mood, of frustration throughout this story. As Walter is daydreaming and driving faster than Mrs. Mitty likes, she abruptly interrupts him. Although the daydream breaks for an instance, he quickly returns to his daydream. Mrs. Mitty is quick to interrupt again, “It’s one of your days. I wish you’d let Dr. Renshaw look you over.” Her frustration is evident because she thinks that something must be wrong with him. Later when Walter is not wearing his gloves, Mrs. Mitty is certain he has lost them. James Thurber has reinforced her frustration.

Walter’s frustration is expressed in the story several times as well. An instance when a parking attendant awakens Walter from another daydream, the story reads “Mitty becomes a little testy.” When Walter makes several mistakes trying to park the car, the frustrated attendant tells him to “leave her sit there, I’ll put her away.” When the attendant parks the car with some expertise, Walter replies “they’re so damn cocky, they think they...
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