The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Criticism and Interpretation Essay

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James Thurber is a well-known comical author who became famous for his popular short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which was written in 1938. This short story describes the combination of realism and imaginations of the protagonist, Walter Mitty, and expresses the conflict between individual and society. Walter Mitty is a man who is continuously daydreaming throughout his day completing errands with his wife. During all of his unlikely fantasies, he makes himself out to be a successful hero when the truth is; he is an insignificant, normal man who cannot even complete certain responsibilities on his own. The heroes he becomes in his many fantasies are courageous, substantial people who take charge and impress everyone around them. However, in reality, he lives a usual life with no excitement and obeys his nagging wife. Walter Mitty is a typical husband in the 1930s. He is suffering from many problems such as emotional and financial issues which lead him to create a different person, the side of him that is the person he wishes he could be, significant, bold, and heroic. The title of this short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, confirms that the reader will be involved in Walter Mitty’s “secret life” which is actually his imagination. Walter Mitty experiences five dreams where he reconstructs himself as somebody else, a better, more improved self. In these day dreams Walter Mitty is a brave, heroic figure when realistically he is only a regular, insignificant man living an ordinary life. In his dreams he becomes a pilot who saves the day, a famous surgeon saving a life, a skillful shooter on trial for murder, an intelligent general, and a courageous soldier daringly facing a firing squad. For many people, these heroes are considered to be the “American Dream”. This dream is the heart of success. This story was written in 1939 which was the time of the

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