Do you think that the method of stories within the story makes the story more interesting in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"?can you just explain in simple way.

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Do you think that the method of stories within the story makes the story more interesting in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"?

can you just explain in simple way.

Without Mitty's daydreams, there really is no story--just an account of a man going through the day following his wife's instructions. The clever use of Mitty's fantasies woven into his real day tells us everything about Mitty's drab life and how it fails to meet his needs. Through his daydreams, we can see the life that Mitty would like to lead--or more specifically, the kind of man he would like to be: daring, adventurous, masterful, awe-inspiring, admired, and respected. Through his daydreams, we find out how Mitty really feels about himself and his own life.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is the stark contrast between the exciting, dramatic daydreams of Walter Mitty's imagination and the humdrum existence that he leads, oppressed by his wife, that makes the story so engaging as we see Mitty's character revealed through the ironic gap between his real life and how he imagines his life to be. I think we all see an element of Walter Mitty in our own lives, and the cliched parodies that Thurber uses as the basis of his dreams show how we all secretly identify with Mitty and long for a more exciting existence.

gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 Yes, I do think it makes the story more interesting. By shifting back and forth between the different stories, Thurber shifts between two levels of reality. In one, we get what is actually happening, while in the other, we get what Walter is daydreaming about. However, Thurber makes the daydream as vivid and credible as the reality, and so it is clear that the daydream is very important to Walter. It's how he makes it through the day.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Humor abounds in Thurber's story; such silly things as Mitty's driving past a hospital after being scolded by a policemen launches his daydream of supreme expertise as skilled surgeon.  Then, he has to take the car to a garage because he does not know how to remove the winter chains from his tires.  It is the non-sequitur of Mitty's real self in contrast with his daydreams that is so humorous.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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