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Describe the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Mitty

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pedro101 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 11, 2013 at 1:34 AM via web

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Describe the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Mitty

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 11, 2013 at 3:34 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that the relationship between husband and wife is a complex one. On the surface, it is quite a dominating relationship in that she is controlling and he is very submissive.  She is the one who "nags him to buy galoshes, to put on his gloves, and to drive more slowly."  For his part, Walter flees into his world of dreams, in part to escape from elements of reality that he finds undesirable.  Mrs. Mitty is one of those elements.  Walter's flight into dreams is due in part to the fact the he can never be anything more than an ineffective husband whose wife has to look out for him.

However, it might be here where the relationship between both is complex.  Walter is only saved, to a great extent, because of his wife  He is the Quixote- like figure who is able to retreat into dreams and into the world of the subjective.  She is the Sancho, worried and concerned with the mundane.  The day to day existence, a state of being that Walter cannot handle, is one element that she is able to take for him. Put another way would be that Walter is only able to dream because his wife is there to ensure that his reality is not one in total chaos.  In this light, they make a complementary pair.  Walter might not want to admit it, but his dreams and her focus on reality are where they function as a couple.  He probably needs her more than she needs him and more than he realizes.

This is a hopeful read on their relationship.  The reality is that there is a disconnect in their relationship, indicated with his line, "Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?"  While her response is classic in the "I will take your temperature when we get home," Walter faces the firing squad alone and, in his mind, with courage.  His wife is not by his side as he stoically and heroically achieves a summit in his own mind.

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