Reality Vs Desire In The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

Table of Contents

A brief narrative


In summary,

Every day a person will find themselves daydreaming. They are escaping reality with their imagination. When attention drifts inward, daydreaming occurs. The phenomenon of daydreaming is very common among people. This was shown in a large scale study where participants spent an average of 47 percent their waking time daydreaming. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was written by James Thurber. The protagonist Walter Mitty escapes from reality by daydreaming. Both the story and the movie are unique, with different elements, such as extra parts and missing parts. This makes one theme stand out. James Thurber teaches the reader to use daydreams and fantasies as a way of escaping from reality. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty shows the reader that the primary conflict is between reality and the desires of individuals. The major theme of ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is the dreams of a life-long individual versus the expectations of society. Walter Mitty does not have a very exciting or successful life. Mitty’s world is hellish. Walter can’t stop daydreaming all day long, which is causing him conflict. As he changed the way he viewed things, his journey was made easier. His attitude choice influenced him. It is possible to support the conclusion of happiness being a choice in attitude, rather than an action.

Thurber’s short story is a very simple one. Mrs. Mitty is at the hairdresser; Mitty buys overshoes. In his attempt to remember what wife had asked him to get, Mitty becomes an arrogant defendant in a case of murder. He purchases some dogfood and then sinks into the chair of a hotel lobby, where he imagines that he’s a bomber-pilot under intense attack. When his wife arrives home, she tells him she’ll take her temperature. After the story’s conclusion, Mrs. Mitty leaves for a drugstore. He becomes “proud and disgusting” before a firing squad. Thurber uses Mitty to show him as a person who is unable to dream. He is awash in cliches. The “Webley Vickers automatic” is present in both his dreams and reality. He is an exaggerated person who everyone can recognize.

Walter Mitty has a tendency to daydream. Thurber’s story begins with a line that places the audience in the middle action. The opening line is the only context that is given to show the reader the action. The voice of the commander was like a thin sheet of ice breaking. Walter is the protagonist of our story. This proves that the story is more about dreams than reality. Mitty’s wife and he are going to run errands. Mitty daydreams about being a brave naval commander who is piloting a waterplane. The same pattern repeats itself several times. She encourages him, and he suddenly becomes a brilliant surgeon. Mrs. Mitty said, “You are tensed again.” It’s your day. Walter Mitty’s readers may be suspicious of his mental stability after reading this line. It could be his wife’s overreaction. Mitty is not very good at anything. Walter has no idea where the line is. The life in his head and what is happening outside of his imagination are both equally real. By omitting the context of the first line, it gives this thrill to the reader. Walter Mitty relies on his fantasies to get him through his day. But he’s also a forgetful guy. He had been told twice by his wife before they left their home for Waterbury. It was a bit frustrating for him to make these trips every week, he would always get something wrong. Kleenex? Squibbs? Razor blades perhaps? No. Toothpaste and toothbrushes, bicarbonate and carborundum? Initiative or referendum? He gave up”. He then rambles about his wife not forgetting and his own unhappiness when he comes home. He then starts daydreaming once again. The author uses the daydreaming technique to show the reader the protagonist’s dissatisfaction with life.

MovieIn The Secret life of Walter Mitty, the conflict that is most prominent is the one between an Individual’s Dreams and Reality. Walter Mitty has a lot of exciting daydreams, but his real life is dull, boring, and unsatisfying. Ben Stiller’s direction of the movie was brilliant in showing Walter Mitty’s imagination and his daydreaming. As the short-story began by launching into the action, so too did the film jump right into Walter’s daydream of saving a pup from an explosion. In the movie, there are more details and events compared to the short-story. Walter Mitty’s monotonous workdays at Life magazine are filled with developing photos. Walter Mitty, a middle aged man, is trapped in financial responsibility. He is a Photo Archivist at Life magazine. This job, which is being replaced with machines, is on the decline. He is reserved, shy, and sheltered. Isolated from his environment. Walter escapes the monotony by imagining himself as a hero in a thrilling daydream. Walter would love to be with Cheryl, another employee. But he doesn’t feel worthy. The new owners of Life send Walter on a photo-hunt to get the perfect shot for the last print issue.

Walter’s daydreams are a blur as he is transported into different worlds. He may be the rugged explorer, or he could be Cheryl. One of the famous lines she says in the movie is “That song’s about courage and entering the unknown.” Walter was insulted when Ted, their new boss called him Major Tom because of his tendency to drift off. Cheryl gently reminds Walter that this song is about a brave person and shouldn’t be taken as an insult. Walter doesn’t like confrontation or conflict. His boss walks away when Walter confronts him about an issue. Walter imagines the perfect comeback to make as he walks. Dumbledore. Not you, someone else. Walter has a fantasy in which he mocks Ted’s beard. It is a great hit with his coworkers.

Walter Mitty has a good grasp of the checkbook, but he lacks imagination. Walter faces the threat of being fired as a result of the magazine’s final print edition. Sean Penn plays a mysterious cameraman who is the subject of Walter’s desperate search for a lost negative. The caper that ensues is much more outrageous than he ever imagined. Cheryl helps him unravel cryptic codes, which lead him to Iceland, Afghanistan, etc., where he embarks on an adventure that is surreal and lavish. It combines stunning landscape montages with digital effects. Walter says at the end, “To feel, to draw closer, and find out what’s behind the walls. It is to live. The little scene from Walter Mitty inspired me to reevaluate my way of living. It made me realize that not every moment has to be captured to be meaningful. The strongest memories are only made when we are fully present. Walter’s magazine Life has this motto. The motto is to take risks, see the world and be involved in the world. Walter is not the only one who finds inspiration in the magazine’s message.

ConclusionJames Thorber shows his reader that fantasies, daydreams and a way of escaping reality can help you cope with success and failure. In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty the conflict between the desires of an individual and reality is the central theme. A person’s life dreams are compared to society. Walter Mitty has a lot of exciting daydreams, but his real life is dull, boring, and unsatisfying. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty contains many messages that are similar. It is a film about facing the unknown. It’s all about enjoying life and not falling into the trap of only dreaming. In a busy world, where we have so many distractions, we should be more selective about what we choose to focus on. Otherwise, we may miss out on important things. Ben Stiller’s interpretation of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty provides a beautiful, subtle look at finding happiness and confidence. He makes his argument through quirky humor and emotional connections. Overall, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty makes a strong argument that happiness can be found in the way you live your life. The secret life of Walter Mitty is a great argument for finding happiness in your attitude towards life.


  • kaylarusso

    Kayla Russo is an educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is a 27 yo educational blogger and volunteer and student who loves to help others learn.



Kayla Russo is an educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is a 27 yo educational blogger and volunteer and student who loves to help others learn.

You may also like...