What causes Walter Mitty's daydreams in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"?

Walter Mitty's daydreams in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" are caused by boredom and his dissatisfaction with everyday life. They are an escape into a world in which exciting things happen.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I believe that there are two possible answers to this question. One answer focuses on the more immediate question of what causes or triggers each imaginary fantasy, and the other answer looks toward the deeper seated root cause of why Mitty is having so many daydreams in the first place.

Mitty's daydreams aren't random. They are triggered by something in the environment around him. When he sees a hospital, he imagines that he is an expert surgeon. When he hears about a court trial, he is a fantastic lawyer. When he sees pictures of bombers, Mitty becomes a brave pilot. When he lights up a cigarette, he imagines himself standing before a firing squad.

The fact that Mitty is having daydreams shouldn't surprise or shock readers. We've all had daydreams, and more than likely, they involve us doing something in and around the environment that we were present in at that moment. What readers should notice is just how often Mitty has his daydreams. They are constant. It's possible that Mitty has...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 769 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on