Short Story #3 – “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

1. Provide the title and author of your story.  Then write a well-developed paragraph in response to the story.  Some questions to think about: did you like it or not?  Why? How did the story make you feel? Does this make you want to read other stories by this author? Would you recommend this story to someone else? Why?

The  short story that I will be “ranting” about is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber. I honestly did enjoy this story because the transitions between Mitty’s fantasies and the real world just abruptly stop, afterwards the event or “trigger” that starts the fantasies are amazing such as a hospital, reading a book on Germany or any other casual thing that one might find. This story made feel somewhat invigorating because there were good fantasies that actually make the reader want more. If I had the opportunity to read more stories from this author I would most definitely read the other works from this author. I would totally recommend this to anyone whom also experiences such fantasies, enjoys a good fantasy, or in general a good story to read.

2. Conflict Analysis.  What is the central conflict of this short story, how does the author create tension or suspense surrounding this conflict, and how is it resolved?  Use text evidence (quotes!) to support your response.  Your response should be a well-developed paragraph.

The central conflict of this story, that I would say, would be that Mitty cannot focus enough to do tasks in the real world, he constantly haves these fantasies that occasionally end in him getting into trouble. Whats even more suspenseful is that the reader does not know what is going on in the real world, for all we know Mitty could be in the middle of a fire or almost falling off a bridge. For example, “Not so fast! You’re driving too fast!” said Mrs. Mitty. “What are you driving so fast for?” “Hmm?” said Walter Mitty. He looked at his wife, in the seat beside him, with shocked astonishment.” In the scene before this, Mitty was a pilot of a Navy hydroplane of which causes Mitty to be driving over 55 instead of 40. Another sample of his reckless fantasies would be when Mitty becomes a surgeon in a one-of-a-kind surgery, in which afterwards he nearly crashes with a Buick. “Back it up, Mac! Look out for that Buick!” Walter Mitty jammed on the brakes. “Wrong lane, Mac,” said the parking-lot attendant, looking at Mitty closely.” However, there is one fantasy ended with “Puppy biscuit,” said Walter Mitty.”  The fantasy that made this happen, had Mitty as an assassin testifying in a court in which ends with him saying puppy biscuit due to the District Attorney saying “You miserable cur!” and being a laughed at by a passing woman. The way that I think the way that the story resolves itself is that Walter Mitty accepts the fact that no one can change him by having the last fantasy be him facing “the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful, Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.”

3. Compare and Contrast.  Pick two of your short stories (and be sure to tell me which ones!).  In a well-developed paragraph, compare and contrast the authors’ styles.  Things you might consider: diction, syntax, tone, setting, genre, etc.  Be sure to use text evidence!!!

The two stories that I will be comparing and contrasting would be “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Most Dangerous Game.” I would say that the story “The Most Dangerous Game” is more of a serious style due to the mood the story sets, such as the conversation between Rainsford and General Zaroff, ” “But no animal can reason,” objected Rainsford. “My dear fellow,” said the general, “there is one that can.” “But you can’t mean–” gasped Rainsford. “And why not?” ” I can’t believe you are serious, General Zaroff. This is a grisly joke.” By this conversation, we can assume that the rest of the story is going to have a more serious tone and setting. On the other hand, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” has more of a cheerful tone and setting, the following example sets the mood…at the end of the story, however, it on were to read it again the story is cheerful, “Then, with that faint, fleeting smile playing about his lips, he faced….Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.” The diction also sets them apart because “The Most Dangerous Game” has a more eerie word choice such as the following, “The, as he stepped forward, his foot sank into the ooze. He tried to wrench it back, but the muck sucked viciously at his foot as if it were a giant leech.” However, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the opposite of such word choice, there may be some words that one would not understand but its better than the other story, such as, ” The crew bending…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!” “The Most Dangerous Game” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” are both similar and different in their own ways in that one is more serious than the other, the word choice of the authors helped determine that style, and that both are exiting to the reader.

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