The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Assignment Instructions

Topics: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The New Yorker / Pages: 6 (1296 words) / Published: Dec 18th, 2014
English 1 Honors
Unit: Short Stories
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” Creative Writing Assignment
Writing Situation:
In “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” the protagonist leads an unfulfilling, unsatisfying, and mundane existence. His only solace seems to come from the many daydreams that transport him to another place where his altered Ego dominates the landscape. By observing Walter Mitty’s exciting and lively daydreams, we get a distinct sense of what is sorely lacking in his real life.

Directions for Writing:
Write a narrative in which you imagine yourself a character in a situation you wish to escape, causing you to experience a series of epic daydreams. Using James Thurber’s classic short story as a model, emulate the author’s style, use similar transitional devices, and show a clear contrast between your real and your fantasy persona. Your narrative must include a minimum of three daydreams. Be sure to incorporate and use proper dialogue conventions and proofread your work. Your narrative must be a minimum 600 words.

Tips for Success
Plan. Plan. Plan. Outline your plot (Seriously! Create a timeline!). Have a clear idea of the situation you wish to escape. Map out how and when your daydreams will begin and end. What will trigger them? What will end them? What happens in each daydream?
Your fantasy persona should be “larger than life” so clearly develop your real persona to be the antithesis, or opposite, of the fantasy self. (i.e. fantasy self=outgoing; real self=introverted)
Use a lot of sound, color, and texture details in your daydreams to make them more vivid and—by contrast—make the real life situation more boring and drab.
Create multiple antagonists.
Communicate through your daydreams a sense of what is missing in the real-life persona’s existence.
Use the same title as Thurber, substituting “Walter Mitty” with the name of your persona.

English 1 Honors
Unit: Short Stories
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” Creative Writing

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