WALTER MITTY Biography - Fictional, Iconical & Mythological characters


Biography » fictional iconical mythological characters » walter mitty

Name: Walter Mitty                                                                 
Walter Mitty is a fictional character in James Thurber's short story "The Secret   
Life of Walter Mitty", first published in The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, and     
in book form in My World and Welcome to It in 1942. It was made into a film in     
Mitty is a meek, mild man with a vivid fantasy life: in a few dozen paragraphs     
he imagines himself a wartime pilot, an emergency-room surgeon, and a devil-may-care
killer. The character's name has come into more general use to refer to an         
ineffectual dreamer, appearing in several dictionaries. The American Heritage       
Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as "an ordinary, often ineffectual person who     
indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs."                             
Although the story has humorous elements, some critics see a darker and more       
significant message underlying the text, leading to a more tragic interpretation   
of the Mitty character. Even in his heroic daydreams, Mitty does not triumph,       
several fantasies being interrupted before the final one sees Mitty dying           
bravely in front of a firing squad. In addition, it is possible to read the         
events in the story as the responses to the stress of reality by an aging man       
who is sliding into senescence. In the brief snatches of reality that punctuate     
Mitty's fantasies we meet well-meaning but insensitive strangers who               
inadvertently rob Mitty of some of his remaining dignity.                           
His wife is the only inhabitant of reality that we meet more than once. Thurber     
cleverly leads us into accepting her as a nag by giving Mitty's fantasies a         
charming lightness and comic-book simplicity that disarms deeper scrutiny. On       
the other hand, her final appearance suggests that she is a woman struggling to     
cope as her role shifts from loving life-partner to care-giver as Mitty slowly     
slides into his second childhood.