The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Character Analysis

993 Words 4 Pages
Ana María Vanegas
Professor Kate Newell
English 168-OL
July 26, 2017
The Undefeated Man: a look to James Thurber’s Masculine Ideals James Thurber’s American classic short story, ‘The Secret life of Walter Mitty’ (1939), narrates the fantasies of an ordinary aging man stuck in his daydreams. Walter is nearly an incompetent man in everything he performs, as he lacks proper concentration, gets distracted and forgets things easily. Additionally, he gets directed and scolded by his dominant wife every time he is absent-minded. However, his grandiose imagination takes him to places and do things that only the bravest men would be able to do: such as piloting a plane through a storm, saving the day at an operating room or risking his own life against
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For example, at the first parts of the story, Mitty was driving his car too fast because he was also flying fast in his daydream, therefore his wife said: "We've been all through that," she said, getting out of the car. "You're not a young man any longer." (Paragraph 4). That episode displays the identity crisis he was passing through, where in his fantasies he was a man full of capabilities and with no sign of common aging problems (e.g. loss of coordination), meanwhile in real life he clearly was getting older. On another example, there is a high contrast between Walter’s imagination identity and his real life identity: “Any special brand, sir?" The greatest pistol shot in the world thought a moment. "It says 'Puppies Bark for It' on the box," said Walter Mitty” (Paragraph 11). As it is illustrated in the past quote, Walter was going through a dual personality crisis, just like in a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde similar …show more content…
It was 1939 when this short story was published and, back then, the world was run by men. Within any person, there was a desire to be grand, to be recognized and respected. Those who achieved that status were only the brave ones, the ones who did things not everyone could. And Walter Mitty was that in his daydreams: despite being a good guy or a bad guy, in his dreams he had the guts to be a ‘man’ of his time. "Give me a fountain pen!" he snapped. Someone handed him a fountain pen. He pulled a faulty piston out of the machine and inserted the pen in its place. "That will hold for ten minutes," he said. "Get on with the operation. […] - If you would take over, Mitty?" Mitty [...] "If you wish," he said” (Paragraph 6). Walter dreamt about himself as someone self-confident that can take action but his own… and that is not afraid to assume the consequences of his actions: "With any known make of gun," he said evenly, "I could have killed Gregory Fitzhurst at three hundred feet with my left hand." Pandemonium broke loose in the courtroom” (Paragraph

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