While Walter Mitty is a pitiable character, he is yet one who rises from the ashes of his henpecked life with his imagination. So, there is something wrily humorous about him, yet heroic at the same time. To this day, when someone who is an unknown, ordinary, quiet and retreating, invents something or makes a success of his/her life, newcasters will call this rise to fame, "a real Walter Mitty Story."
So, at the end of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" the repressed Walter does fail at his attempts toward independence and respect as his wife dismisses his declaration, "Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?" with "I am going to take your temperature when I get you home." However, as "that faint, fleeting smile plays about his lips," Walter, again in fantasy, succeeds in his dreams as he departs with his wife,
proud and disdainful, Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.