abstract illustration of a man's face and several accoutrements: scissors, gloves, glasses, tweezers, facemask, and a cigarette

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

by James Thurber

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What is the resolution in "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty"?

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The resolution of James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" can be found in the final paragraph of the short story. It has been another routine day for Walter, driving his wife around and waiting on her while she gets her hair done. Walter struggles to remember the two errands that he must complete, and his wife reminds him again even though he forgets anyway. She nags at him about his driving, about being "tense," about being old, about his refusal to wear his gloves and about hiding from her at their meeting place in the hotel lobby. He is chastized by a parking lot attendant and laughed at by a passerby on the street. In the end, Walter decides that daydreaming of his noble death is a fitting way to go.

Walter Mitty lighted a cigarette. It began to rain, rain with sleet in it. He stood up against the wall of the drugstore, smoking... He put his shoulders back and his heels together. "To hell with the handkerchief," said Walter Mitty scornfully. He took one last drag on his cigarette and snapped it away. Then, with that faint, fleeting smile playing about his lips, he faced the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful, Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.

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