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The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Essay

  • Submitted by: heather78626
  • on March 19, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 711 words

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Below is an essay on "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber tells the story of the aging Walter Mitty on a trip into town with his overbearing wife, Mrs. Mitty. Mitty is an absent-minded driver, he can't handle simple mechanical tasks, and he forgets things easily. What makes Mitty exceptional is his imagination. While Mitty goes through a day of ordinary tasks and errands, he escapes into a series of romantic fantasies, each spurred on by some mundane reality. As he drives his car, he imagines he is commanding a “Navy hydroplane" through a terrible storm. When he rides past a hospital, he imagines he is a world-famous surgeon saving a VIP's life. When he hears a newsboy shouting about a trial, he imagines he is a crack shot being interrogated in the courtroom. As he waits for his wife to finish at the hairdresser's, Mitty sees pictures of German planes and imagines he is a British pilot willing to sacrifice his life for his country. Lastly, as Mitty waits outside against a wall for his wife to buy something in a drugstore, he fantasizes that he is a bold and brave man about to be shot by a firing squad. The story suggests that fantasy is often a good alternative to reality.
Mitty is a round character, the silent hero. Mitty's imaginings are the basis of his character. The content of his fantasies let us know everything we need to know about his aspirations, his failings, and his dissatisfaction with his own world. For example, Mitty dreams of being in charge, this tells us that, in real life, he's bothered by his lack of control, his wife calls all the shots. The fact that he retreats into fantasy at all, never mind what he fantasizes about, also tells us something about Mitty, although the conclusion we draw from this is subject to debate. It may be that he is ultimately a strong character, who doesn't let himself get down despite being derided by those around him. Or it could be that he's ultimately defeated and is forced to retreat into fantasy because he can't face...

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