Theme and Narrative Elements in the Short Story

Topics: Fiction, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The New Yorker Pages: 3 (874 words) Published: November 5, 2012
Theme and Narrative Elements in the Short Story

The short story I have chosen to write about is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” by James Thurber. I will use this story to write an understanding of literary themes. I will use this to describe the theme of the short story, then I will identify two literary elements in the short story that contributes to the point of view, tone, setting, character, and symbolism by giving an example of each. Finally, I will then explain how the selected literary elements affect the narrative theme. In “The Secret life of Walter Mitty,” the theme of this story is about the distractions that Mitty goes through and how he feels unappreciated by his wife. An example of this, is how Mitty thinks he’s a commander in an 8-engine Navy hydroplane, when his wife awakens him when they are driving to the city. (Clugston, 2010) This story to me reminds me of an old married couple. The older man daydreams about his past, and the old woman nags about everything. “Not so fast! You’re driving too fast!” (Clugston, 2010) Some of the symbols that relate to common nature themes would be nature. Nature represents aging, and in this story represents an older married couple. A common cultural symbol is used as a white flag. The white flag used represents surrender, which Walter Mitty doesn’t seem to speak up often. This is truly represented when Mitty is in the parking-lot. For example, in the parking-lot Mitty “began to cautiously back up out of lane marked “exit only.” “Leave her sit here there”, said the attendant.” I’ll put her away.” Mitty got out of the car. “Hey, better leave the key.” Oh,” said Mitty, handing the man the ignition key. The attendant vaulted into the car, backed it up with insolent skill, and put it where it belonged. They’re so damn cocky, thought Walter Mitty. (Clugston, 2010) I believe that portrayed how Walter Mitty surrendered to the parking-lot attendant by not speaking up he threw up the white flag. How many times...

References: Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into Literature. San Diego, California:
Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from
Kuperman, Joel S. (1995) Oxford Press, University Press.
Retrieved from
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