18 October, 2017
The Use of Literary Devices to Establish the Setting in James Thurber’s Narrative
Every day, writers use rhetorical and stylistic devices throughout their literary works. These useful tools help authors bring clarity and provide support to their narratives. In the short story, “The Secret Life of Walter”, the author employs the use of these techniques and tools to strengthen his writing. The writer, James Thurber, effectively utilizes rhetorical devices to enhance the setting by capturing the reader’s senses. Firstly, the use of imagery heightens the reader’s sensations to better visualize the environment by the use of descriptive words. Secondly, similes help link two ideas, an unknown and more familiar point together to frame the atmosphere and the mood of the scenery. Lastly, onomatopoeias are useful to convey a specific sound and the way it is produced to attract attention.
To begin, James Thurber applies the aid of imagery in his works to establish the setting in an interesting and vivid way. In the story, as Walter Mitty falls into another daydream, he imagines himself in a dugout during the German war, determined to fly in the air to conquer the bomber and the Archies. In Walter’s slumber, he pictures the set: “War thundered and whined around the dugout and battered at the door. There was a rending of wood and splinters flew through the room” (Thurber 3). In this specific example, the author describes Mitty’s surroundings through the use of detailed words. James Thurber creates a realistic sensation for the readers, by creating a feeling that affects all five senses using his/her imagination and mind visualization. In Walter’s war dream, the readers can distinguish the atmosphere to resemble a loud, strong and powerful unleashing of wind from a storm. He/she can picture themselves in Mitty’s shoes, experiencing the same storm, a hurricane so strong, woods chips broke off and rode with the wind across the room. In short, the effective use of imagery helps to evoke a better characterization of the action’s backdrop. Notably, in the short story, after Mrs. Mitty’s hairdresser appointment, she finally finds Mr. Mitty and they both leave the hotel. As Mr. Mitty and his wife exit the building, the narrator specifies in detail: “They went out through the revolving doors that made a faintly derisive whistling sound when you pushed them”(Thurber 3). The setting can be seen, felt and heard...