Theme and Narrative Elements in the Short Story The short story I have chosen to write about is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” by James Thurber. I will use this story to write an understanding of literary themes. I will use this to describe the theme of the short story, then I will identify two literary elements in the short story that contributes to the point of view, tone, setting, character, and symbolism by giving an example of each. Finally, I will then explain how the selected literary elements affect the narrative theme.
In “The Secret life of Walter Mitty,” the theme of this story is about the distractions that Mitty goes through and how he feels unappreciated by his wife. An example of this, is how Mitty thinks he’s a commander in an 8-engine Navy hydroplane, when his wife awakens him when they are driving to the city. (Clugston, 2010) This story to me reminds me of an old married couple.
The older man daydreams about his past, and the old woman nags about everything. “Not so fast! You’re driving too fast! ” (Clugston, 2010) Some of the symbols that relate to common nature themes would be nature.
Nature represents aging, and in this story represents an older married couple. A common cultural symbol is used as a white flag. The white flag used represents surrender, which Walter Mitty doesn’t seem to speak up often. This is truly represented when Mitty is in the parking-lot. For example, in the parking-lot Mitty “began to cautiously back up out of lane marked “exit only. ” “Leave her sit here there”, said the attendant. ” I’ll put her away. ” Mitty got out of the car. “Hey, better leave the key. ” Oh,” said Mitty, handing the man the ignition key.
The attendant vaulted into the car, backed it up with insolent skill, and put it where it belonged. They’re so damn cocky, thought Walter Mitty. (Clugston, 2010) I believe that portrayed how Walter Mitty surrendered to the parking-lot attendant by not speaking up he threw up the white flag. How many times have you thrown up the white flag in life? Another symbol used is a common color symbol, which is white. White means many things innocence, light, purity, insight, and life. For this story I’ am going to use innocence to best describe how Walter Mitty relates to his daydreams. Growing up we are always taught that as a child we are innocent.
We are always shown a look of purity. In the story of Walter Mitty, he has shown this innocence by having a daydream that he thinks he is a famous surgeon. This daydream seems typical for a childhood dream. “A huge, complicated machine, connected to the operating table, with many tubes and wires, began at this moment to go pocketa-pocketa-pocketa. ” (Clugston, 2010) These symbols relate on one and another because throughout life there will always be something that sticks in your path and as you age becoming wiser in determining what battles to face in life, such as the conflict with the parking-lot attendant.
Even though throughout life we must choose what battles to face, remembering childhood innocence is important as well. Two of the key elements that contribute to the story are the Characterization about the kind of people in the story, and Setting of where the story took place. The “character involves habits and tendencies of thought and action that we are not, or at least need not have been, original to a person. ” (Kupperman, 1995) In the story Walter Mitty show cases his character by his daydreams.
It seems that this is his escape from his nagging old wife. “I was thinking”, said Walter Mitty. “Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking? ” “I’m going to take your temperature when I get you home. ” (Clugston, 2010) The setting of the story takes place in town when Mrs. Mitty is getting her hair done, and Mr. Mitty was told to get those overshoes while she gets her hair done, even though it seems that Mitty doesn’t want overshoes. The feelings that I have from this setting is that Mr.
Mitty is a daydreamer and a person who is wise and makes decisions on what battles he should take, and is also nagged on by Mrs. Mitty which makes him feel unappreciated. I my opinion, this story gives off the feeling of lack of communication between the Witty’s. These literary elements affects the narrative theme by how tone is set throughout the story, and the emotion toward each other. In Conclusion, I have used this story to write an understanding of literary themes.
I used the to describe the theme of the short story, then I identify two literary elements in the short story that contributed to the characterization and setting of the story, by giving an example of each. Then finally, I explained how the selected literary elements affect the narrative theme. References Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into Literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content. ashford. edu/books Kuperman, Joel S. (1995) Oxford Press, University Press. Retrieved from http://site. ebrary. com/lib/ashford/docDetail. action? docID=10142348
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