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&Quot;The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty&Quot; 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, 1499). Suddenly, Mitty is brought back to reality by a sharp reproach from his wife for driving too fast.
Thurber uses various literary elements to incorporate humor into the story. One way in which the author creates humor around Walter Mitty is by emphasizing the contrast between his real character and the one who he imagines himself to be in his fantasies. In his imagination, he is sharp, attractive, and heroic. Others are in awe of his fearlessness and have faith in his intellect when circumstances seem hopeless. However, in reality Mitty is as laughable to others as the Fantasy Mitty is admirable. He is incompetent and forgetful and succumbs to the demands of his dominating wife, whose presence is necessary since Mitty seems unable to bear his own responsibilities. While he is in his inner world, he is able to command others with a voice that is "like thin ice breaking" (NA, 1498). On the other hand, in the rare instances where he speaks in real life, he seems unconfident and confused, answering others with, "Hmm?" (NA, 1498) or "Gee. Yeh" (NA, 1500).
The story jumps back and forth from his dreams to real life. The timing of the transitions between a fantasy and reality accentuates the differences between his two characters. In his fantasies, he is given just enough time to display his attributes, such as when he fixes the "anesthetizer" to save an important patient, commands a courtroom with a gesture of his hand, or nonchalantly prepares to enter a dangerous mission as a bomber pilot. His reverie is then interrupted by something that reminds the reader of his faults. For example, after Mitty the doctor adeptly fixes a machine with a fountain pen and prepares to operate on an important patient, a humiliating warning from a parking...

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