What do Walter Mitty's daydreams tells us about his circumstances, beliefs and longings?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Walter Mitty's daydreams tell the reader a lot about his personality.  It is clear that Walter is not an amazing physical specimen of a man, nor is he extremely intelligent.  He's not good at simple mechanics, and his coordination is not superb, which is why he isn't a great driver.  He can be forgetful at times.  All of these traits together make him a bit of a lovable klutz . . . to the reader.  To the other characters in the book though, Walter is someone to be avoided or yelled at or laughed at.  

Perhaps as a way to compensate for his shortcomings, Walter imagines a second life.  In that life he is a quick decision-maker, strong, powerful, loved by people, brave, etc.  Walter's daydreams are his way of seeing himself in a more positive light.  They are his way of making his boring and mundane daily life and job more exciting.  

Read the study guide:
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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