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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


by James Thurber

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Theme of Dissatisfaction

Title character Walter Mitty finds himself dissatisfied with his mundane, every day life, and the role of passive husband to which he is relegated. Mitty dislikes the way people treat him – as a bumbling, aging man – when he in fact imagines himself to be something much greater. "Walter Mitty" paints a picture of the sort of everyday dissatisfaction we all have felt at one point or another felt our lives – surely we are too ordinary, our lives too boring, our skills too commonplace. Whether or not Mitty's way of dealing with such dissatisfaction, by retreating into a world of fantasy, is effective or not is subject to debate.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. How does Walter feel about the real world? Does he hate it? Does it scare him?
  2. What events make Walter feel dissatisfied with the world around him? Are these things his fault, or the fault of those around him?
  3. Are Walter's fantasies an effective way of dealing with the things he doesn't like about the real world?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is ultimately a tragic story.

Walter Mitty is victorious at the end of this story.

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