The short story that I will do an analysis on is the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, written by James Thurber in March of 1939. This story centers around the hilarious and amusing daydreams of Walter Mitty an ordinary man, who resides in Waterbury, Connecticut, with his overbearing, nagging wife Mrs. Mitty. Throughout this short story Mitty is characterized as being a pathetic, timid man, who daydreams to deal with situations, and conflicts that arise in his life with his wife and others he encounters on a daily basis.
The genre of this short story would be comedy, Thurber’s writing style is quiet creative and imaginative, with themes of adventure, escapism. Symbols and images are the car, Mitty is unable to correctly park, the overshoes that he insists he doesn’t need, the gloves, and the tire chains he can’t correctly remove from the vehicle (Clugston, 2010). Characters in this short story are of course, Walter Mitty, Mrs.
Mitty, the policeman, and the parking attendant. This story is the settings of Waterbury, Connecticut, on a cold afternoon, point of view told in the third person. First daydream occurs when Mitty and his wife are driving into Waterbury, Connecticut, Mitty thinks he is a commander at war in a hydroplane (Clugston, 2010). After experiencing this first daydream Mrs. Mitty reminds her husband as they are approaching the city to shop for overshoes for himself, which he insists that he doesn’t need, but as he leaves the car with a parking attendant , “he kicked at the slush on the sidewalk”(Clugston, 2010) which in fact he realizes that he does need overshoes, also before his wife went along to her appointment, she questioned Mitty as to why he wasn’t wearing his gloves because it was cold Mitty hastily put is gloves on, but as soon as she exited the car into the building for her appointment Mitty removed his gloves, when Mitty exited the car into the cold weather he realized that his wife was right and he hastily pulled on his glove (Clugtston, 2010).
Mitty’s second daydream occurs after he drives past a hospital on his way to the parking lot, he thinks he is a famous surgeon, heroic character, who saves the day. Mitty is awakened from his daydream only to be told by the parking attendant that he is entering the parking lot the wrong way. Third daydream, Mitty daydreams that he is a witness in a courtroom trial, walking down the street trying to remember the other item his wife instructed him to buy.
The fourth and final daydream Mitty thinks he’s a captain in a war plane, he was awakened by his wife, Mrs. Mitty in a hotel lobby and confronted about not wearing his overshoes, and why he hiding in that particular chair, Mitty replies to his wife that does it ever occur to her that he is thinking. (Clugston, 2010). Mitty is saying to his wife, he has a mind of his own and that he can think for himself. Throughout Mitty’s babblings and day dreams, he is a weak, timid man dependent on a strong woman (Mann, 1982). Most importantly I can identify with Mitty’s daydreaming not as hilarious and outrageous as his are, but we all have a need to slip away from the hoarse realities of life and escapism in the form of daydreaming.