Walter Mitty daydreams to distance himself from his inadequacies in the real world. Each of his delusions is rooted in reality but gives him qualities which he does not possess in real life.
In his first daydream he is a Commander navigating a hydroplane through a hurricane. In reality, he is driving a little too fast for his wife’s liking. Her admonition brings him back to the real world-
Walter Mitty drove through Waterbury in silence, the roaring of the SN202 through the worst storm in twenty years of Navy flying fading in the remote, intimate airways of his mind.
As he drives past the hospital, Mitty becomes an eminent surgeon who is skilled at challenging surgery and adept at repairing the lifesaving equipment. He emerges from this dream irked as a parking attendant ridicules his poor driving.
Whilst contemplating wearing a sling to cover the fact he cannot fit his own snow chains, Mitty’s fantasy becomes as a sharp shooter and defender of a lady’s virtue-
“With any known make of gun,” he said evenly, “I could have killed Gregory Fitzhurst at three hundred feet with my left hand.”
As he sneaks a cigarette outside the drugstore, Walter imagines he is facing a firing squad and bravely refuses the blindfold-
To hell with the handkerchief.
Walter is constantly facing the wrath of his wife, and it is tragic that he has to imagine a glorious death to blot out a tedious life.