What is the differnce between the way people treat him in real life and the way they treat him in his daydreams?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The main difference between the way Walter Mitty is treated in real life and the way he is treated in his daydreams and fantasies has to do with his wife. Mitty has very little interaction with other people in real life in James Thurber's story. Mitty's wife treats him pretty much the same way that a mother treats a young child. She watches over him, makes sure he is properly dressed when he goes out, decides what he is going to eat, and is always taking his temperature. Mitty brings a lot of this mothering on himself because he is a man who lives in a world of fantasies in which he is always a strong, heroic character. This makes him absent-minded, as shown when he forgets what it was that his wife told him to bring home from the store. Finally he comes out of one of his fantasies and remembers that she wanted puppy biscuits. He says the words "Puppy biscuits" aloud on the busy  sidewalk and makes a passing woman laugh at him and tell her companion, "That man said puppy biscuit to himself." Mitty is just one of the millions of little people living in New York City, but in his fantasies he is an exceptional individual capable of heroic actions.

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