The theme of a work of literature can be defined as the message a reader might take away after reading the work. With this definition in mind, the theme of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" has to do with the link between boredom and imagination.
Walter Mitty, the title character of the short story, desires a life vastly different from the one he actually lives. Walter's day to day existence is dull, and his wife regularly berates him for his various negative qualities, an experience that is also dull. In the short story, Walter loses himself repeatedly in a heroic daydream inspired by something he observes in his immediate situation. Four times, Walter imagines himself far away from his boring existence, and each time, he sees himself to be a remarkable man doing remarkable things.
Thanks to Thurber's creation of Walter Mitty, readers familiar with this short story can use the expression "Mittyesque" to describe a person like Walter Mitty who is trapped in a life he can only escape with...
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