Analysis Of "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" By James Thurber

1537 words - 6 pages

James Thurber, one of America’s best known humorists, is mainly known for “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” The story was first published in 1939 in the New Yorker magazine, for which he worked in, and received much appraise for it. Although Thurber did not receive much education, he had a talent of hiding the themes of his stories, which some critics considered “dark,” underneath the humorous plots. In “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Thurber uses his comical character and settings, along with other elements of his stories, to fully express his views on society. Even though the story seems humorous, Thurber hides a message: society has become dull.
James Grover Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio on the eighth day of December of 1894 to Charles and Mary Fisher Thurber. Thurber’s mother, Mary, like most of Thurber’s female characters in his stories, was domineering and was said to take “control of people and things and ordered the lives of those around her” (Gale). At a young age, Thurber began his writing career by working for his high school paper. After high school, he continued his education at Ohio State University. He entered the university in 1913 where “he worked on the university's literary and humor magazines, the Ohio State Lantern and the Sun-Dial” (Gale). Thurber, unfortunately, did not complete his study and left Ohio State University in 1918. Thurber explained that he could not pass a required botany class because of an eye injury he had suffered as a child while playing William Tell with his older brother (Gale). The arrow that hit one of his eyes contributed to the total blindness he would eventually suffer in 1951. The injury, as well, kept him out of the military, limiting him from masculinity positions. After he left Ohio State University, Thurber married Althea Adams on May 20, 1922. Althea had similar characteristics as Thurber’s mother, and most of Thurber’s female roles in his stories: overbearing, domineering, secure, and aggressive. Alongside Althea’s pushing, Thurber continued to work as a writer. He worked as a newspaper reporter in Ohio, France, and New York. In New York, Thurber joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1927 where he worked alongside the well-known children’s author E.B. White. "White's literary skill influenced Thurber's craft" ("The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" 184). Althea and Thurber eventually produced a daughter, but later divorced in May of 1935. Thurber, full of determination, did not stop as a writer. Thurber, after fifteen drafts, published what would be his best work: "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." It was published into The New Yorker in 1939. "Thurber gained high recognition for his work from Williams College and Yale University, which awarded him honorary degrees" ("The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" 184). A couple years later after writing "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," Thurber began to lose his eye vision until he went completely blind. Thurber, depressed by his health and by...

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