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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 and how even average beings search to test the waters of heroicness and bravery in important occupations.
The story begins as Mitty is captain on a Navy hydroplane in one of the worst storms in Navy history. This dream was most likely egged on due to the fact that when this story takes place, the rain is coming down and reminds Walter of something to do with the Navy, thus, he is a Navy Captain. He shouts orders ?Full strength in No.3 turret!? to his crew. In this scene, along with others, Walter is seen as the head honcho, giving orders and not receiving them in the slightest bit. This is in contrast to Mr. Mitty?s reality in which he makes no decisions and is dictated by his wife?s tyranny. For example, Walter is told,?Remember to get those overshoes?? Even though Walter puts up an argument, he is crushed by the authority of his wife, and shows how relationships, even today, are controlled mainly by women in some form or another, which just adds to the normality of Mitty?s boring life. After Walter?s dream of the Navy vanishes, due to his wife?s interruption, he drops her off at a salon where she is to have her hair styled and is asked by his wife, ?Why don?t you wear your gloves?? His response to this was to follow orders and slip the gloves on his hands one by one, which threw Mitty into another universe in which he was a famous surgeon whom is engaging in a delicate surgery on a close friend of Roosevelt and is also a millionaire banker. Although there are two specialists called in from around the globe, the operation is being stopped to wait for Dr. Mitty, a genius-surgeon. The fact that Walter performs the surgery without the direction of the two other experts fortifies the idea that he only wishes to become a hero and not a zero. After Walter realizes that he is driving in the wrong lane, due to his daydreaming, he leaves his car in the care of a valet and goes about his business of purchasing some new overshoes. Mitty soon remembers that he was to not only buy the shoes, but something else. As he is standing in the street he hears something about the Waterbury trial from a paperboy. As if by magic, Mr. Mitty is slung into a courtroom and is on trial now as a murderer, a cocky murderer on trial for shooting Gregory Fitzhurst. He shows,...

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