Walter Mitty is an ordinary man who dreams of being extraordinary. Part of the explanation for his dissatisfaction with his everyday life is that he fails to live up to what he holds as masculine ideals. Mitty is mechanically inept, a poor driver, a passive husband, and a forgetful man. In his fantasies, however, he is skilled, decisive, bold, brave, and perhaps most importantly, respected by those around him. These are the qualities that Mitty holds up as the pinnacle of masculinity. Just what Thurber intends to present as masculine ideals is not clear.
Thurber embraces the type of masculinity that Walter idealizes in his fantasy.
Through this story, Thurber rejects typical Romantic ideals of masculinity and instead promotes the everyday sort of masculinity that Walter embodies in real life.