Compare And Contrast Essay On The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty And The Necklace

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Compare and Contrast essay on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Necklace

Compare and Contrast essay on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Necklace


When comparing literary works with commonality and contrast in short stories, one has to think about theme, tone, symbolism, irony, and imagination. All of these literary terms can combine and make a great piece of literature. What is it that separates literary works from being common? In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber and The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, there is a commonality, but there are also differences. Both short stories represent the relationships in marriages through the main characters and the roles that each character plays within the marriage. This paper will explain the common theme, the symbolism, the tone, and the irony within the stories as well as the content, form, and style through textual evidence in relation to the author's background. Although both stories are similar, there are differences that will be stated. Both characters, in their respectable stories, have one main thing in common, a dream (Bourg, 2004, pp. 217-241).

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, written by James Thurber, is by far one of the most well known short stories ever written. The attention he received from writing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has followed him to this day with questions about his writing style, narrative form, and the hidden symbolism, which one may see as sarcasm, through many different critics. In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Thurber may have used his first marriage as a reference to his character using a biographical/historical approach. Walter Mitty is portrayed as a “middle-aged, middle-class man who escapes from the routine drudgery of his suburban life into fantasies of heroic conquest (Napierkowski, 2008, pp. 1-18).” Thurber's story is written in a third person limited point of view, but with access to Walter Mitty's thoughts. Thurber has been criticized as a sexist in some of his writings and in this story it has been interpreted as such through symbolism with sexual innuendos (Eagly, 1999, pp. 203-222).

Mitty's daydreams as his struggle with a continuous attempt at an orgasm. Without explaining the entire story and its sexual innuendos, the paper will interpret Walter Mitty's final fantasy. “Fantasy number five constitutes for Mitty, an admission of defeat, both in his quest for sexual satisfaction and his general defense mechanism of daydreaming. Everything suggests a decline in his potency and control of the situation. Mitty, who began as the Commander and demoted in fantasy number four to Captain, now has been stripped of his rank and placed before a firing squad. The phallic weapon-machines that he once controlled have been trained on him, and his once-huge phallus has been replaced by a thin, solitary, soundless cigarette (he has accepted the defeat suggested by his wife's thermometer). At the end, he stands “erect and motionless” as a phallus unable to fire; there will be no orgasm for Walter ...
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