The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Thurber)

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A middle-aged man with a vivid imagination often daydreamed about being a heroic figure in various scenarios, providing an escape from his mundane life and constant criticism from his controlling wife.

Walter Mitty was an ordinary man with a vivid imagination, who often daydreamed about being a heroic figure in various scenarios. He was married to a woman who constantly nagged him and criticized his driving.

Walter Mitty — middle-aged man with a vivid imagination; often daydreams to escape his mundane life; submissive to his wife; gentle, imaginative.
Mrs. Mitty — Walter Mitty's wife; critical and controlling; concerned about her husband's behavior; practical, assertive.

One day, while driving his wife to her hair appointment, Walter's mind wandered to a scene where he was a brave commander of a Navy hydroplane, navigating through a dangerous storm.

“Not so fast! You’re driving too fast!” said Mrs. Mitty. “What are you driving so fast for?”

After dropping his wife off, Walter continued to daydream about being a renowned surgeon, a fearless witness in a courtroom, and a daring World War I pilot. In each of these fantasies, he displayed exceptional skills and courage, earning the admiration of those around him. However, in reality, Walter struggled with simple tasks like buying overshoes and remembering to purchase puppy biscuits.

As Walter waited for his wife outside a drugstore, he imagined himself facing a firing squad with pride and defiance. In this final daydream, Walter Mitty remained undefeated and inscrutable until the very end, showcasing his resilience and strength of character in the face of adversity.

“With any known make of gun,” he said evenly, “I could have killed Gregory Fitzhurst at three hundred feet with my left hand.”

Throughout the story, Walter's daydreams provided an escape from his mundane life and the constant criticism from his wife. Despite his seemingly ordinary existence, Walter's vivid imagination allowed him to experience a sense of adventure and heroism that he longed for in his everyday life.