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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

by James Thurber
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What tasks are Mitty and his wife carrying out?

Mitty and his wife are carrying out the task of running their daily errands. Mitty's wife has her hair done while he shops for overshoes and puppy biscuits.

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Walter Mitty and his wife are running errands. Mitty is taking his wife into Waterbury to get her hair done, and, after he drops her off, he is supposed to go and buy some overshoes for himself. He doesn't want any overshoes, but his wife insists.

Mitty leaves his car in the parking lot (after almost hitting another car in his distraction) and walks along Main Street down to the shoe store. He purchases his overshoes and then recalls that there is something else his wife wants him to buy while he's waiting for her. He just can't remember what it is. He finally remembers that he must pick up some puppy biscuits, so he heads to the A & P to get them. Then he goes into the hotel lobby to wait for his wife. She finds him there, and as they walk back to the car, she stops in at the drugstore for a moment.

These little daily errands are highly uninteresting to Mitty. In fact, for the whole day, he allows his imagination to carry him into a world of adventure, far away from the boring shopping and waiting of the real world. He is a fighter pilot, a famous surgeon, a military commander, a defendant on trial, and even a man facing a firing squad. Indeed, Walter Mitty's daydreams save him from falling into a spiritless stupor as he and his wife go about their routine.

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