Themes of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber Essay

Themes of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber Essay

Length: 1029 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

James Thurber is the author of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. He feels inferior to his wife throughout his marriage. He learns to express these feelings through writing short stories and illustrating cartoons. This is a way for him to escape his everyday life with his wife. Critics have acknowledged Mitty motif, which is used to describe his two major themes in many of his major works such as “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (Morsberger 66). “The Secret Life of Walter Witty” is one of the most well know short stories by James Thurber (Morsberger 44). His themes are evident throughout the story. Also, he is able to become alive through the story by expressing imagination. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” explores the main themes of disharmony between the sexes, males’ escaping routine, and life as a married couple.
In the Mitty motif, there are two themes, and the first is, “...the domination of the American male by the American female” (Morsberger 66). In James Thurber’s short stories the women are domineering over the men (La Blanc, Michael and Ira 40). Women no longer want to be inferior to men. In “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, Mitty’s wife bosses him around. This suggests she does not respect her husband. Mitty fails to meet his own idea of masculinity, which in return allows the wife to take power (“Men and Masculinity”). Prior research states that “Thurber embraces the type of masculinity that Walter idealizes in his fantasy” (“Men and Masculinity”). Walter Mitty is a poor driver, a husband who does not care, and a forgetful man (“Men and Masculinity”). He no longer puts forth effort in his marriage. People in the story treat Mitty as a grumpy older man, but he imagines himself to be no such thing, but as a great...


... middle of paper ...


...ates that, “through this story, Thurber rejects typical romantic ideals of masculinity and instead promotes the everyday sort of masculinity that Walter embodies in real life” (“Men and Masculinity”). James Thurber has condemned the foundation of marriage in this short story of Walter Mitty (“Marriage”).
In conclusion, the Mitty motifs are the themes that include: disharmony between the sexes and males escaping routine. Another theme James Thurber includes in his work is the life as a married couple. Thurber has accomplished many great short shorties in his life, but “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” his most popular work. He has learned to live his life through his short stories, expressing his feelings in his writings. Many individuals have been inspired by his writings. James Thurber has made his mark on the world and will be forever known and never forgotten.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about A Deconstruction of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

- A Deconstruction of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty     In the short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” we see the main character as a rejected misfit in society.  He is often unaware of the world around him and reacts in what others would call a negative way to those situations he actually responds to.  However, close examination of the text used by James Thurber to portray him prompts a need to deconstruct the character Walter Mitty.  In doing so, we find that, far from being a misfit, he is actually the one member of society that is truly sound....   [tags: Secret Life of Walter Mitty Essays]

Better Essays
807 words (2.3 pages)

Essay about Analysis of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber

- James Thurber, one of America’s best known humorists, is mainly known for “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” The story was first published in 1939 in the New Yorker magazine, for which he worked in, and received much appraise for it. Although Thurber did not receive much education, he had a talent of hiding the themes of his stories, which some critics considered “dark,” underneath the humorous plots. In “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Thurber uses his comical character and settings, along with other elements of his stories, to fully express his views on society....   [tags: routine, dull society, realism]

Better Essays
1193 words (3.4 pages)

Descriptive Language in “Boys & Girls”, “Cat in the Rain”, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

- Descriptive language in the stories “Boys & Girls”, “Cat in the Rain”, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and the poem “A Far Cry from Africa”. Descriptive language is a literary tool used by many great writers. We clearly see this in the stories “Boys & Girls”, “Cat in the Rain”, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and the poem “A Far Cry from Africa”. Through the use of metaphors, imagery, similes and symbolism, the authors present their issues more effectively. We see that in all these stories, descriptive language is used to demonstrate how a characters identity predicament can lead to overall crisis....   [tags: Compare]

Better Essays
1087 words (3.1 pages)

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Essay

- “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” as written by James Thurber is an interesting short story. Walter Mitty, the protagonist of the story, is in a constant battle with his wife, the antagonist of the story. Mr. Mitty is, simply put, a daydreamer with a creative mind. His wife does not appreciate this aspect of Mr. Mitty and is constantly nagging him and bringing him back to reality. Mr. Mitty’s character is flat, as he is never portrayed as a deep and unknown character with some type of third dimension to his personaility....   [tags: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Fiction]

Better Essays
1098 words (3.1 pages)

James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Essays

- James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty In James Thurber's wonderful short story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", I get the feeling that he may be a victim of Attention Deficit Disorder, rather than just being a daydreamer. Throughout the story, Walter changes personae several times. He flips back and forth between reality and fantasy so much he may have a problem with his attention span. Walter needs Mrs. Mitty to keep him on track. By being a daydreamer, his head is in the clouds and this irritates her....   [tags: Secret Life Walter Mitty Essays]

Free Essays
519 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on The Role of Fantasy in James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

- The Role of Fantasy in James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty In "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," James Thurber tells the story of a henpecked old man who escapes his monotonous life with frequent excursions to fantasy. In the real world, he is a forgetful old man who must obey his wife's every whim. But, in his fantasies, Walter Mitty is intelligent, brave, and the epitome of manliness. He makes up for the characteristics he lacks in the real world through the heroic characters he embodies in his fantasies....   [tags: Secret Life Walter Mitty Essays]

Better Essays
1423 words (4.1 pages)

Fantasy in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Essay

- Fantasies are what people go through on a daily basis. People love talking themselves away from reality and putting themselves into a world of their own with no limitations to where they could go. People get so into their fantasies that sometimes it may help build confidence or even cause them to lose track on what they were supposed to do or time. Fantasies become a love—hate relationship because at one point, you’re in love with the fact that you’re doing something out of your character and for your own pleasure, but it’s a hate relationship because you know that it will most likely not happen or come to an end soon enough....   [tags: walter is married, canterbury]

Better Essays
1405 words (4 pages)

Character of Walter Mitty in The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Essay

- The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty - Character Study of Walter Mitty        In the short story, "The secret life of Walter Mitty," a man by the name of Walter Mitty goes into town with his wife to get some things done. Throughout this story Walter Mitty shows that he is very forgetful and a really stubborn man with a vivid imagination.  He is constantly being distracted, and starts to day dream often.        There are a few hints in this story that show Walter Mitty is very forgetful.  Most of this is probably caused by his constant day dreaming throughout this trip into town and not concentrating too hard on what he's doing.  Once Walter Mitty had dropped of...   [tags: The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty]

Free Essays
458 words (1.3 pages)

Essay on James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

- ... Mitty as a scape-goat which allows Walter to use Mrs.Mitty fall into his dreams(Cheatham 608). Walter uses Mrs.Mitty as a reason to be able to dream. Ferguson explains how Mrs. Mitty is the reason that Walter is driving into town in the first place; he has to wait outside the drugstore and in the hotel lobby for her(432). In both scenarios Walter falls into his fantasies while escaping errands and waiting on Mrs. Mitty. Walter uses his dreams as a way for him to ignore his wife. Ferguson tells how Walter uses his dreams to block his wife out of his mind(433)....   [tags: escaping reality, story, character analysis]

Better Essays
977 words (2.8 pages)

Themes of Alienation and Control in James Joyce's Araby Essay

- Alienation of “Araby” Although “Araby” is a fairly short story, author James Joyce does a remarkable job of discussing some very deep issues within it. On the surface it appears to be a story of a boy's trip to the market to get a gift for the girl he has a crush on. Yet deeper down it is about a lonely boy who makes a pilgrimage to an eastern-styled bazaar in hopes that it will somehow alleviate his miserable life. James Joyce’s uses the boy in “Araby” to expose a story of isolation and lack of control....   [tags: James Joyce Araby Themes]

Better Essays
1851 words (5.3 pages)