The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Topics: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Fantasy, James Thurber Pages: 4 (1344 words) Published: November 9, 2008
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” depicts the inner monologue of an aging man as his mind drifts in and out of fantasies as he completes his routine tasks on an otherwise routine day. Walter Mitty represents the aging of era which defined the current age. They experienced so much in one era and yet were still caught by the hands of time. This adventure through an aging mind gives great insight into not only the character of Walter Mitty, but the character of a generation.

Walter Mitty represents a generation that experienced a great deal. The trials of many great wars, the invention and evolution of a technical age, and a complete change in the way the world operates. Walter Mitty begins his tale deep in battle while operating a Navy hydroplane. He is solving problems with the engines and is very much the protagonist in his own mind. “The Old Man’ll get us through” and the “The Old Man ain’t afraid of hell!” show Mitty’s belief in his own ability to save this situation (Thurber 106). In his mind this daydream is quite vivid. There is an immense amount of detail poured into the description of events. However, even in his own fantasy, the underlying frailty that he has become rings through. He refers to himself at the “Old Man,” (Thurber 106). Even in his heroic day dreams he cannot escape the bitter reality.

However, Mrs. Mitty brings this colorful fantasy to a screeching halt. Mrs. Mitty, much like life in general at that point is telling Mitty to slow down, sometimes even in alarming fashion, as in this case. Much like many older couples, she seems obliged to remind him constantly of his real-world obligations while he attempts to fall in and out of his fantasies. As he grows older, the world begins to expect less and less and he references that with his comments about the insolent younger men. He is no longer allowed to take off his chains or even park his car. The world seems to have no use for him.

Furthermore, this lack of...

Cited: Thurber, James. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Other Pieces. By James Thurber. New York: Penguin Books, Limited, 2004.
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