Compare and contrast the real-life Walter Mitty with his imaginary counterparts.

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By compare and contrast, I assume that at least one similarity must be touched upon. Walter Mitty and his imaginary alter egos are all male. That is about the only thing that they all have in common with each other.

Walter Mitty is average to a fault. He is not a standout at work, in his marriage, or anything else for that matter. He is not a leader, and by consequence, Walter Mitty is unable to move out of his ordinary surroundings and ordinary life. In order to combat the general mediocrity of his life, Walter Mitty creates alternate personas by which he makes his life (and himself) more exciting. By contrast, the men he imagines himself as are all brave, daring, and charismatic alpha males. He imagines himself as a gutsy combat pilot, a highly skilled surgeon, and a clever lawyer. Each of those men is looked upon as a leader in his field and is revered by the people that surround him. Basically, they are the complete opposite of Walter Mitty.

grammargator eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Walter Mitty, the author James Thurber has created an Everyman. Henpecked by his wife and beaten down by life, Mitty is a middle-aged man trying to navigate the challenges of ordinary life, with little success. Nagged constantly by his wife and mocked by others he encounters in the course of his mundane existence, Mitty retreats into a fantasy world of extraordinary events.

In his imagination, Mitty becomes a daring combat pilot, a uniquely skilled surgeon called in to consult on a puzzling medical case, and a brilliant lawyer whose eloquence saves the day in a tense courtroom drama. In all of these fantasies, Mitty is the hero, a sharp contrast to the little failures of his real life. Indeed, it is exactly that contrast that gives Mitty relief from the humiliation of his day-to-day existence.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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