In ''The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," what tasks are Mitty and his wife carrying out in real life?James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Walter Mitty's real life tasks in Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" mirror his daydreams and fantasies that allow him to escape from his mundane life of chores and pleasing his wife. For example, when he is driving his wife into town, the driving allows him to escape into flying (driving) a Navy hydroplane. When he takes off his gloves, the act of taking off the gloves propels him into the fantasy of being a famous surgeon. When he leans against the wall waiting for his wife to make a purchase, he dreams he is bravely facing a firing squad.

The real-life events include driving his wife around town. First they go into the city to do errands, and he drops her at the hairdresser. Then he goes to a shoe store to buy overshoes. Next, he goes to buy dog biscuits and makes his way to the hotel lobby where he is supposed to meet his wife. Here, he sits down and starts to read a magazine. These real life events are linked to his fantasy life.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," Mrs. Mitty has Walter chauffeuring her around town where she gets her hair done and gives him a list of things to do while she is in the beauty shop.  Poor hen-pecked Walter is intimidated by parking-lot attendant and the garageman who mocks him for not being able to remove the snow chains from his tires. 

As Mitty emerges from the shoe store where he buys overshoes, he wonders what he is supposed to purchase next.  After his mind wanders into a daydream, Mitty finally remembers the puppy biscuits and goes to the grocery store.  His tasks completed, he goes to a hotel lobby where he sinks into a large winged armchair to await his domineering wife, lost again in a fantastic daydream.


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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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