The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Derek Pruestel
Have you ever daydreamed about being a pilot or doctor, or anything more exciting than what you were doing? The titular protagonist of James Thurber’s short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” sure has. The story is about a man who is bored with the dull tasks of his average life. He runs errands, brings his wife to salons, and reads newspapers. He tries to escape his boring reality by daydreaming of more intense and dangerous situations. Walter Mitty’s a meek man who doesn’t stand up to his wife. He often leaves reality behind and dreams of himself as a more heroic figure than he actually is. “Get him to bed, with the others. I’ll fly alone.” (119) "’Why don't you wear your gloves? Have you lost your gloves?’" Walter Mitty reached in a pocket and brought out the gloves.” (115) The Mitty of the real world and the fantasy Mitty are a sharp and obvious contrast. Mitty’s dreams see him as brave under pressure. The fantasy Mitty effortlessly performs a risky surgery, but the real Mitty is nagged at by his wife when she couldn’t find him. One may think Mitty is only brave in his head, and most of the time that is the case. However, as if the fantasy Mitty influenced him, he finally stands up to his wife.  "’Did you get the what's-its-name? The puppy biscuit? What's in that box?’ ‘Overshoes,’ said Mitty. ‘Couldn't you have put them on in the store?’ ‘I was thinking," said Walter Mitty. ‘Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?’” (120) This is a very important part of Mitty’s life, as he recognizes that nothing will change if he doesn’t make an effort to confront his wife. The line, “Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?”, shows that he’s tired of his wife’s nagging and is trying to reach some sort of solution. Walter Mitty’s newfound bravery is reminiscent of his dreams, rather than his old reality. This shows that his actions could have been influenced by his daydreams. His...
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