The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Identity Analysis

Topics: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The New Yorker, James Thurber Pages: 1 (372 words) Published: August 29, 2004
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

James Thurber

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty takes us through Walters mind as he daydreams about adventures he only dreams of enchanting. His wife, Mrs. Mitty, is an assertive woman who runs Walter's life. Walter has no anterior identity other than what Mrs. Mitty will allow. Walter daydreams of being in other situations to escape the shrew he somehow winded up with. Dreams such as a pilot in a battle get him into trouble with Mrs. Mitty. She claims he is driving too fast and lectures him for it. If Walter had his own identity and controlled his own life, long ago he would have told Mrs. Mitty off. Looking to buy gloves, Mitty flashes into yet another dream. This time he is known as Dr. Mitty. He fixes a machine in this dream and is awaked to realize what he is moving into the wrong lane. A paperboy shouting about the Waterbury trial brings Mitty into a courtroom. After that he had to go wait for his wife across from the hairdresser. He is whipped by his wife and he knows it.

The Walter Mitty stereotype is common. Many men are run around by their wives just to please them. Some men just don't care and have nothing better to do. Walter Mitty does what he is told but I get the feeling that he is getting sick of Mrs. Mitty. At the end, when he faces the gun line, I took that as a "bring it on, see if I care" dream. In this story, I think Walter is beginning to try and look for an identity and thinking about beginning his own life by exploring everything he has always wanted to do and seeing himself in each position. At times, people feel bad for him because he has no say in his life and he acts as if he has no control of it.

James Thurber, author of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, wanted women to seize power and to bring down the testosterone level in the world. He saw women as mother figures and not as partners. This might have had something to do with the perspective given when he wrote about Walter Mitty.
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