The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Questions and Answers
by James Thurber

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What is the main conflict and theme of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"?   

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Author James Thurber is one of America’s cleverest humorists of the twentieth century. In 1939, he penned the short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” for New Yorker magazine, and it promptly became a popular classic.

The story’s protagonist is Walter Mitty, a middle-aged man escaping his frustrations in life by leading an on-again-off-again fantasy existence. As the tale unfolds, a military commander is attempting to navigate an airplane through a pending hurricane and it seems that all hope is lost. Nevertheless, the crew has faith in the Commander’s heroism:

The crew, bending to their various tasks in the huge, hurtling eight-engined Navy hydroplane, looked at each other and grinned. “The Old Man’ll get us through,” they said to one another. “The Old Man ain’t afraid of Hell!”

Suddenly, the reader discovers the military pilot to be Walter Mitty, who is actually in the midst of a fantastic daydream while driving his car. The apparently neurotic protagonist is...

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