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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Analysis

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Analysis

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  • August 8, 2011
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Theme and Narrative Elements in the Short Story
Patrick Powell
ENG: 125
Prof. Wanda Deffenbaugh
July, 18 2011

In the short story “the Secret Life of Walter Mitty” the themes identified are; the ability to escape real world events and frustrations by daydreaming and making himself feel important by always becoming the hero in his daydreams. Walter Mitty is very submissive to his wife, and she is pictured as sort of a bully and in order for him to escape his hectic life with his wife, he uses his imagination. In his daydreams, he becomes a commander in an eight-engine Navy hydroplane, a rich surgeon who’s assisting a friend of President Roosevelt, a suspect in a murder case, which he is an expert marksman on the stand for trial, a world war I pilot, and a defiant prisoner. He imagines himself on both sides of the spectrum, with ideals of prestige and utter distain, but in his mind it’s an adventure that whisks him away from his minuscule life and his overbearing wife. In the opening paragraph, the author starts the story within the daydream making believe for the story to be a fantasy, but then the character is abruptly awakened by his wife. This shows that the main character, Walter Mitty escapes into imagination frequently.

The author James Thurber tells the story in an omniscient, third-person point of view. Thurber expresses Walter Mitty’s feelings and thoughts as they are happening, which is only limited to Walter Mitty. While reading, I can easily identify and understand Walter Mitty’s thought process. I could also relate and understand the significance of his dreams to his reality. I get to follow Walter Mitty through his day and get to see and know the things that Walter Mitty he himself knows.

The Plot of the story deals with a submissive, Peter Parker-esque man who drives with his wife to the beauty parlor and for shopping. Within the time he is with his wife, he has five episodic daydreams. The daydreams that the main character, Walter...