Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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James Thurber (1894—1961) American humorist and cartoonist


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Short story by James Thurber, published in The New Yorker (1939) and collected in My World—and Welcome to It (1942).

Henpecked Walter Mitty daydreams as he drives his wife downtown, attends to errands she requires, and waits while she has her hair done, envisioning himself as the beloved commander who gets his men through the worst storm in 20 years of navy flying; as the brilliant surgeon who saves the life of a millionaire banker; as the world's greatest pistol shot testifying in a murder case and refusing to be bullied by a nasty district attorney; as the British bombardier preparing to attack a German ammunition dump on a dangerous solo flight; and then, as his wife momentarily leaves him waiting outside a drugstore, he snaps away his cigarette, disdains a blindfold, and faces “the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful, Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.”

Subjects: Literature.

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