Comparing Lord Dunsany’s Two Bottles Of Relish And James Thurber’s Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

1034 words - 4 pages

A Comparison of Lord Dunsany’s Two Bottles of Relish and James Thurber’s Secret Life of Walter Mitty

“The Two Bottles of Relish,” by Lord Dunsany, written in 1932, tells the story of Smithers, a relish vendor and London resident, in his quest to sell his product, Num-numo and, along with his new roommate, Linley, solve the murder of Nancy Elth. The 1942 short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” by James Thurber, documents the fantasies of ordinary man Walter Mitty as he attempts to escape his mundane life. Both Smithers and Mitty have low self-esteem and are ambitious in different ways, but they differ in imagination.

Both Smithers and Mitty have low opinions of themselves and permit others to push them around. Smithers shows his feelings of inferiority when he readily admits, “I’m what you might call a small man and in a small way of business”(42). He acknowledges his low opinion of his work of selling relish when he says, “ . . . it is quite easy to push . . . I wouldn’t have gotten the job if it weren’t”(42). Smithers concedes that Mr. Linley is superior when Smithers agrees to sleep in the hall to be out of Linley’s way and to do the leg work to get the clues so that Linley can solve the murder. Walter Mitty exposes his feelings of inadequacy as he remembers bungling the removal of chains from his tires and having to pay a mechanic to correct his mistake. He is totally managed by his wife which is proven when she orders him to buy overshoes, and when he protests, she continues to put him down by saying, “ ‘We’ve been through that . . . You’re not a young man any longer’”(273). Mitty further demonstrates his inability to stand up for himself when he tolerates being given orders by the parking attendant. The actions of Smithers and Mitty verify that they have no confidence in themselves.

Each man is ambitious; however, Smithers sets realistic goals, but Mitty’s aspirations have no basis in reality. Smithers simply wants to be a better salesman and proves his desire when he becomes excited about living with Linley because Smithers thinks by learning to sound more sophisticated he can sell to a larger clientele, and he proclaims, “ If I picked up only a quarter of it from this Mr. Linley I’d be able to double my sales”(43). Smithers is so committed to his goal that he is willing to pay more rent than he can afford to soak up Linley’s knowledge. Also, Smithers displays the initiative to solve the murder and does all the work by traveling to Unge to gather the clues needed to solve the mystery. He displays his determination to sell his product in Unge after he finds out that...

Find Another Essay On Comparing Lord Dunsany’s Two Bottles of Relish and James Thurber’s Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Main Character in James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

1011 words - 4 pages In James Thurber's short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the main character, Mr. Mitty, immerses himself into an alternate reality several times throughout the piece to escape the hollow, unexciting life he leads. These instances in which he takes the place of others in more thrilling situations are spurred by actual occurrences in his own life. Through the use of these alternate realities, Thurber shows the monotony of an average life

"the Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber

761 words - 3 pages "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is a story about a man who prefers to live in his fantasies rather than dealing with real life. The story begins when a military officer shouts an order for his crew to proceed with a flight in spite of the dangerous conditions. The unyielding commander speaks with confidence and courage, and his crew expresses their faith in him by saying, "The Old Man'll get us through, the Old Man ain't afraid of Hell!" (NA

Themes of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"

1209 words - 5 pages James Thurber is the author of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. He feels inferior to his wife throughout his marriage. He learns to express these feelings through writing short stories and illustrating cartoons. This is a way for him to escape his everyday life with his wife. Critics have acknowledged Mitty motif, which is used to describe his two major themes in many of his major works such as “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (Morsberger 66

A Deconstruction of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

810 words - 3 pages A Deconstruction of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty     In the short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” we see the main character as a rejected misfit in society.  He is often unaware of the world around him and reacts in what others would call a negative way to those situations he actually responds to.  However, close examination of the text used by James Thurber to portray him prompts a need to deconstruct the character Walter

Living a Lie in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Lady With The Dog

895 words - 4 pages . "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is a story written by James Thurber, which depicts another man who seems to be oppressed by reality. It is she who constantly complains about him not being able to remember the proper name of the biscuits that he was supposed to purchase. It looks as if she expects him to fail at everything that he does. Through out the story it appears that Mitty has given up on reality because he feels that his life is designed

"The Secret Life of Water Mitty" by James Thurber: Character sketch of Walter Mitty, with a comment on the effect his wife's manner has in his personality.

522 words - 2 pages something is wrong with him disregarding his individual mind completely Mrs. Mitty's behaviour is the prime cause of what Mitty has become. One can argue that Mitty's characteristics are solely formed by his wife's attitude towards him.In conclusion, we can say that Walter Mitty's day dreams - where he lives another life, are in a way, forced upon him by his wife's behaviour and the reader is left feeling a litter sympathetic towards the hapless protagonist.BIBLIOGARPHY:THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY AND OTHER PIECES-JAMES THURBER

The Door And The Wall Vs The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty: The Power Of The Psyche

1581 words - 6 pages balance in his psyche. Lionel Wallace is a confused man searching for an escape from the dreariness of everyday life. Similarly Walter Mitty, the main character from James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, is searching for balance between his fantasy world and the reality he attempts to drive away. Through the development of each characters id, ego and superego the two authors depict men whom search for their ideal world. H. G. Wells and

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty(Mrs. Mitty's point of view)

808 words - 3 pages ? Have you lost your gloves?" He pulled two grayish coloured gloves out of his pocket and put them on. Mrs. Mitty smiled, she liked to feel power over someone.As Mr. Mitty drove away she felt a sense of freedom. She walked into Magical Manny's Hair Dues. A lady with spiky bright red hair greeted her "Hey there Mrs. Mitty, I'll be with you in a minute." Mrs. Mitty smiled, but thoughts of what her husband was doing were floating around in her

Descriptive Language in “Boys & Girls”, “Cat in the Rain”, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

1181 words - 5 pages Kikuyu during the Mau Mau rebellion, even though he condemns the British colonialism against which the Kikuyu fight. We see here how a person is divided and unable to choose sides. Walcott writes "I who am poisoned with the blood of both, /where shall I turn, divided to the vein?" We see here that Walcott is unable to identify with one particular background, thus creating dilemmas and sense of isolation. In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James

Importance of Daydreams in James Thurber´s The Secret Life of Watter Mitty

816 words - 4 pages Throughout Walter Mitty’s life he lives a second, more thrilling, life where he is a renowned doctor, war pilot, and even more.James Thurber’s short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, was a book about how a quiet man is bossed and bullied throughout his life, forcing him to daydream to find happiness.Walter Mitty feels the need to escape into his daydreams because his wife doesn’t allow him to make any decisions, his wife bosses and bullies

THe Secret Life of Walter Mitty- a comparisson essay of the movie and the short story. compares the plot, character development and setting

693 words - 3 pages Comparative EssayMovie vs. StorySam StephensSeptember 24, 2003Any movie based upon a piece of literature can make or break its source of inspiration. Some movies do no mercy toward the book, while some exceed the quality of the novel. The movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by Norman Mc Lean, was a much better piece of work than the short story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," written by James Thuber, because the video had a

Similar Essays

Comparison Of Mitty In Real Life And In His Dreams: "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" By James Thurber.

738 words - 3 pages Life is harsh and unfair and living through it may seem to be an endless torment. Even beloved people can sometimes create our deepest engraves. Therefore surviving through it requires dreaming beyond life and its sufferings. Some people daydream to enter their perfect world and others daydream to escape the bleakness of reality. In the short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber, Walter, the main character, daydreams to

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

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, The Author, James Thurber, Contrasts

583 words - 2 pages The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the author, James Thurber, contrasts that real life of the character, Walter Mitty, to the fantasy world he has created. Mr. Dykes ========= In the story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," the author, James Thurber, contrasts that real life of the character, Walter Mitty, to the fantasy world he has created. Walter Mitty, unhappy with his everyday life and his nit-picking wife, fades in and out of

Analytic Essay On The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty By James Thurber

1041 words - 4 pages In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, James Thurber sends our titled character, Walter Mitty from his boring and normal life to daydreams where he is on the top of life itself. Walter Mitty goes into daydreams throughout and is almost always rudely awakened from his contemplations. His short attention span often gets him in trouble with his wife, the nag of his life, or from other various people who ridicule him. In the