The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Essay

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In the following essay, Lindner suggests that the character of Walter Mitty in Thurber's short story is an example of the underground American hero, one who embodies the conflict between the individual and society.

James Thurber has long been recognized as one of America's leading modern humorists. His stories, sketches, and cartoons are engaging, often leading to chuckles of wry reminiscence. But when he created "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, '" Thurber wrought better than he knew, for he had touched upon one of the major themes in American literature-the conflict between individual and society. Mitty's forerunners are readily observable in native folklore and fiction. On one side Mitty is a descendant of Rip Van Winkle and Tom Sawyer. On the other side he dream-wishes qualities customarily exhibited by the legendary frontier hero. Yet, while Thurber's story derives from Americans cultural tradition, it presents the quest...

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This section contains 1,815 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Study Guide
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