The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
by James Thurber
Character Role Analysis
Real Life (including Mrs. Mitty, the parking attendant, the cop, and anyone else who belittles our hero)
It is because of the antagonism of those around him that Walter so persistently retreats into fantasy. Mrs. Mitty belittles him and bosses him about; the cop yells at him for being absent-minded; the parking attendant secretly mocks him for his incompetence, as did the mechanic whom Walter remembers. Walter combats others' opinions of him by creating powerful, decisive alter-egos for himself, alter-egos whom his personal antagonists could never chide or deride.