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Walter Mitty’s dominant character trait is that he is a lonely dreamer. He creates an imaginary world where he is successful and happy, and brave as exciting things happen. These daydreams allow him to forget that his is an average, ordinary person leading a normal, boring life. He is constantly emasculated by his wife, who does not understand him and certainly does not appreciate that he has bigger dreams than a humdrum life. She seems completely unaware of his daydreams, and he does not share them. He does not feel comfortable sharing his life and feelings, or thoughts, with his wife. This is why he escapes into an imaginary world.
Walter Mitty would be described objectively by most people as "absent-minded." They would not understand what was going on inside his head; they would only observe that he was forgetful, inattentive, and rather incompetent. He obviously has a rich fantasy life, but no one, including his own wife, knows or cares anything about that. He regards his fantasizing as "thinking."
"I was thinking," said Walter Mitty. "Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking."
For most men Walter Mitty's type of "thinking" might be counter-productive, but if Mitty is James Thurber's alter-ego the fantasies can be put into words and turned into cash. Thurber was one of the most popular writers in America for many years.
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