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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

by James Thurber
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Is Walter Mitty a round or flat character?

Walter Mitty is more of a round character than a flat character.

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In literature, round characters are characters that have deep and complex personalities, while flat characters are simple and uncomplicated.

In James Thurber's popular short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," the protagonist , Walter Mitty, may be classified as a round character, mostly due to his...

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In literature, round characters are characters that have deep and complex personalities, while flat characters are simple and uncomplicated.

In James Thurber's popular short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," the protagonist, Walter Mitty, may be classified as a round character, mostly due to his complexity. Some might argue that he's actually a flat character, as he is continuously weak, passive, and submissive for most of the story, and the only character development that actually happens, happens in his daydreams or in his imagination. In "reality," he essentially remains the same. However, the fact that he even has these daydreams shows that he is somewhat imaginative and that his character is actually not as simple or as boring as it seems.

Thus, a better question is whether Walter Mitty is a dynamic or a static character.

Dynamic characters are usually in conflict with themselves and/or other characters and therefore undergo character development, while static characters don't change and remain the same to the very end.

Thurber doesn't really develop Walter's character much; he presents him as someone who is in conflict with himself, jumping from one fantasy to the other in order to protect his true self, but also as someone who remains unchanged throughout most of the story. Walter doesn't develop greatly or significantly, but he does become more assertive and bolder and stands up to his wife near the end of the story. When his wife angrily tells him that she's been looking for him all over the hotel and asks him where he was, he confronts her (which is atypical for him), saying,

Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?

Despite this assertiveness, however, he is still as predictable and as uninteresting as always. Thus, he can be classified as a static character. In conclusion, Walter Mitty is a round but static character; his character may be complex, but it remains undeveloped.

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