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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

by James Thurber

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The story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" begins in the middle of his daydream. Readers are not introduced to Walter Mitty. We are introduced to the Commander. He is a brave and fearless leader aboard and "eight-engined Navy hydroplane." We are told that the crew is quite fearful of the storm they are flying into, and one crew member comments that the storm is growing into a likely hurricane. The Commander then begins giving short, crisp orders to his crew in order to see them through the danger. His commands involve telling various crew members to set certain engines at a particular RPM or give a turret full power. Readers are told that as the Commander moves around and gives orders, his crew "bends" to their task and are less stressed. They have complete confidence in their leader's ability to keep them all alive:

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!”

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