Devoted to Distraction In ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’
In the short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, James Thurber puts forth the idea of daydreaming as an essential human activity. It provides an arena for rehearsing social skills and can be used as a defense mechanism to escape from harsh reality. To begin with, the protagonist of the story, Walter Mitty, often escapes into his imagination to gain control of his life. It helps him recall the present, serving as a key to his consciousness. When Mitty forgets what his wife told him to buy, he starts dreaming about being a lawyer: “Perhaps this will refresh your memory… The District Attorney struck at her savagely… You miserable cur! – ‘Puppy Biscuit,’ said Walter Mitty” (Thurber 35-36). He suddenly snaps out of the dream remembering that he was supposed to buy the biscuits. Ironically, Mitty’s wild imagination helps him feel aware and engaged even when he is lost in his own world.
When his thoughts remain in flow, Mitty completes his work and gets through the day. They help him remember the negligible aspects of life so that he stays on task without forgetting anything important. Additionally, Walter Mitty’s fantasies give him courage and confidence to stand up for himself as by the end of the story he finally confronts his wife, “Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?” (37). Mitty is inspired from his regular heroic dreams where he is the centre of attraction and they influence him to be incharge of his own life. This motivation helps him cope with his dull life which is constantly being degraded by his wife. Furthermore, his wife thinks of Walter Mitty as a pushover and an incompetent man. As a result, he feels supressed being yelled at by not only his wife but also by the people on the streets: “Pick it up, brother, snapped a cop” (34).
Moreover, Mitty leads an ordinary life in which he is neither accomplished nor respected, so to gain recognition and freedom of making his own decisions, he escapes to the virtual world having exciting and adventurous events to look forward to. Thus, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber, is a story that forces the reader to reflect on the normality of living a lie. It highlights the fact that daydreaming is not a meaningless activity but rather a beneficial and pragmatic tool that provides people with a serendipitous encounter to remain normal in unfavourable situations. It is a form of escapism that can bring one back to reality even when they are lost, encouraging to bring forward those conceptions and emotions that are buried deep inside a human’s fragile heart and subconscious mind.
The Anton Chekhov short story titled “A Joke” is an interesting read for the inquisitive readers. Very carefully written, the story allows the readers a chance to dive deeper into […]
Travel writing has been a powerful way of directing the audience to new places; some pieces of work will take you on an emotional roller coaster through the eyes of […]
In Robert Frost’s poem “Directive”, the answer to a question of absolution and religious peace can be found in the form of a journey, led by a poet guide. Frost […]
Propaganda has always been one of the most important tools of the government. Having a group of people think alike and believe a particular agenda is very useful, as it […]
Updated: Aug 29th, 2020 James Joyce cites that, Eveline Hill is a young woman who is around nineteen years. She sits alongside her window as she waits to leave her […]
In Albert Camus’s “The Stranger”, the absurdity of life from Camus’s eyes are put on display through the main character Meursault. The sense that the meaning of life is in […]
Siddhartha is a book that opens the reader’s mind to different cultures, finding the meaning of life and the hardships on the path of true enlightenment. It is about a […]
To what extent is social class and wealth perverting to judgment? Jane Austen’s 19th century novel Pride and Prejudice explores the precarious theme of social standing to create an ironic […]
The play Equus was written in 1973 by Peter Schaffer. In the play, Alan, a 17-year-old boy with a horse fetish, blinds six horses in a stable, and it is […]
In the short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, James Thurber puts forth the idea of daydreaming as an essential human activity. It provides an arena for rehearsing social […]