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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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Reader-Response Essay on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Jasmine Walters

ENG 125

Julian Gibbson

January 10, 2011

Reader-Response Essay on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The drifting off into a dream or fantasy world, with all the various adventures and personalities, and the abrupt awakening, only to realize, someone has brought him back to reality. This was the main reason, why I have selected this short story to write my reader-response critical analysis essay on. While reading the story, it was so easy to let go, so easy to feel the moment, to let the imagination go with the story. I am sure, that I am not the only one, who can relate to moments like this.

The story starts out with a daydream, in which Mitty is a Commander of an eight engine hydroplane, trying to delegating it through one of the worst storms. Yelling out instructions to the crew and it almost feels like I am right there with him as a part of the team. But all o a sudden, everything disappeared when his wife calls him into reality. This will happen throughout the entire short story, by different people. The way it is written leaves the reader with a feeling of anticipation of what could happen next. As the day continues, more daydreams of different nature occur.

The next one Thurber describes is, when Mitty turns into a brilliant surgeon, who is about to help the millionaire banker, Mr Wellington McMillan, a close friend of President Roosevelt. He uses the style of satire throughout this one, and uses words for medical conditions, which either stand for a different condition, or have a completely different meaning. But not only that Mitty is a surgeon in this dream, but also he fixes the anesthetizer that no one else knows how to fix. And just as the nurses handed him shining....he is awakened by a parking lot attendant pointing out, that he is in the wrong lane and he would take care of it.

Once he get back to the street, Mitty starts to wonder, what else besides the overshoes he was supposed to get. That was all it took, for him to drift into the next fantasy adventure, where he was an accused witness, in regards to a shooting, with a gun, also made up. Another example of a satire, "literary art that calls attention to the difference between what a particular thing should be and what it actually is" (Clungson, 2010 Ch. 1.2) And somehow, the thought of doggy biscuits, brought him back to the here and now.

After he took care of the errands he had to accomplish, he went on to one more daydream in this story, while he got comfortable at the hotel, where he and his wife arranged to meet up. In this one, he was a Captain, talking to a sergeant



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