The American Humorist: James Thurber

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The American Humorist James Thurber is considered to be one of the greatest American humorists of the 20th Century. He had a way that interpreted the everyday life of American people. Not only could people connect to his stories, but he included many superior qualities in his writing that sparked people’s interest and kept them wanting more. James Thurber’s work appealed to all ages. Not only could he write, but he also illustrated and drew cartoons, so he had something for people of every age group. When one thinks of James Thurber, humor is what usually comes to mind, but there is much more to his work than that. Thurber’s use of theme and other literary qualities throughout his work set the stage for his unique style of writing and show the reader who he is through and through. Like all genuine writers and artist, James Thurber looked at life in a highly original way. Thurber’s style is finely shaped varying from fluency to humorous word coinage (Beetz 2608). What he sees is a curious mix of reality and fantasy. One of Thurber’s major subjects is the use and abuse of language because he valued language as a necessary principle of order (Otto1). The precarious nature of language is one of Thurber’s central concerns. He took language seriously because he saw it as an instrument of order, clarity, and good sense, but he was also fascinated by its capacity to create an Alice-in-Wonderland world. Thurber had a partiality for situations involving eccentric behavior, intricate practical jokes and breakdowns of communication (Otto 2). He taps a common source of anxiety and illuminates it with his own perspective (Bowden 2). “Entering Thurber’s middle-class world, is like wandering into a psychiatric ward and not being quite sure... ... middle of paper ... ...mes” is one of his best novels and still retains its comedy today. The characters in the novel never dare to do anything, but when they do, they always get in trouble. To understand Thurber’s comedy one must know the aspects of his personality that make him vulnerable in his work (Tobias 4). In conclusion, James Thurber was more than just a great American writer. His talent was somewhat harder to see because of the way he expressed himself. No matter if it was writing or illustrating, Thurber’s work was always inspired by the way he felt and he did every piece of work with a reason. Children and adults could enjoy his work but only few dug deep enough to see and appreciate the talent that he had. Most would say Thurber’s use of theme and other literary qualities set the stage for his unique style of writing and show the reader who he is through and through.

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