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Walter Mitty and the Story Of an Hour
An Analysis of Thurber's "Mitty" and Chopin's "Story"
James Thurber's comic "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour" may at first glance seem to have little in common. One is the humorous tale of an aloof husband who spends more time in his imagination than with his wife in reality. The other is a short, level-toned narrative that describes a woman's exultation upon learning that her husband has died. Setting style and structure aside, the two stories actually begin with a common theme (even though they treat of it differently): that theme is the escape from one's spouse. This paper will compare and contrast the theme, structure, literary elements, style and definition of Thurber's "Walter Mitty" and Chopin's "Story" and show how the two authors take one idea in two completely different directions only to arrive at…
Berkove, L. (2000). Fatal Self-Assertion in Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour."
American Literary Realism, 32(2), 152-158.
Chopin, K. (1894). The Story of an Hour. Retrieved from http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/hour/
Deneau, D. (2003). Chopin's The Story of an Hour. The Explicator, 61(4), 210-213.
Marriage in Literature: "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and "The Story of an Hour"
On the surface, it would not seem as though Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" would be comparable because of their varying tones, the former is comedic and the latter is more serious, and themes, escapism vs. reality. However, at the heart of both stories is a marriage that is unhappy. In both stories, the protagonist has been slowly suffocated by their husband or wife. They both are extremely unhappy in their unions and use their imagination to escape their realities. The stories differ in how the protagonist deals with the intrusion of reality into their happy fantasy; one continues on in the fantasy world, making it less and less likely that he can survive within reality and one admits that she cannot return to reality…
Belsey, C. (2005). Culture and the Real: Theorizing Cultural Criticism. Taylor and Francis: New
Chopin, Kate. (2007). "The Story of an Hour." Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 6th
(Boston: Thomson/Wadsworth) 193 -- 94.
He is a constant dreamer, perhaps daydreaming about position he would rather have in society (pilot, surgeon) or what he would not want to be (a witness accused of a crime he didn't commit, facing a firing squad). Readers also know that Mitty's character is so given to daydreams he has practically lost his ability to remember things. It comes across in this
Added to that, his wife is obviously a strong personality and his personality appears to be very meek and easily intimidated. Still, Mitty is an endearing character, someone that could be the absent-minded uncle, or grandfather who needs to be reminded of what his duties are for the household.
The setting in this story is in the community of Waterbury during World War II. Mitty doesn't need to conjure up his own private daydreaming narrative because things around him remind him of what time and place he…
Gender oles and Marriage
The Domestic Prison: James Thurber's "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour"
James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1939) and "The Story of an Hour" (1894) by Kate Chopin depict marriage as a prison for both men and women from which the main characters fantasize about escaping. Louise Mallard is similar to the unnamed narrator in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is that they are literally imprisoned in a domestic world from which there is no escape but death or insanity. As in all of this early feminist fiction, the women characters are defined as 'sick', either physically or mentally, for even imaging a situation on which they might be free, for they are allowed no lives of their own. Louise Mallard was overjoyed when she heard that her husband was killed in an accident,…
Allen, J.A. (2004) The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexuality, Histories, Progressivism. University of Chicago Press, 2004.
Chopin, K. (1997). "The Story of an Hour" in A. Charters and S. Charters (eds). Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Boston: Bedford Books, pp. 158-159.
Davis, S. (1982). "Katherine Chopin." American Realists and Naturalists. D. Pizer and E.N. Harbert (eds). Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 12.
Gilman, C. (1997)."The Yellow Wallpaper" in A. Charters and S. Charters (eds). Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997, pp. 230-242.
In "The Secret Life of alter Mitty," Mitty escapes the reality of his manhood with daydreaming. He does this because his wife emasculates him. For Mitty, daydreams are better than dealing with a bothersome wife. Mitty is a real man in his mind as he fantasizes about saving the Navy hydroplane. Mitty is not happy and he argues with his wife over such things as overshoes. He is no doubt a curmudgeon, as we see when he calls the parking lot attendant "damn cocky" (Thurber 1361). Mitty is unlucky in life but we have to wonder how much of this is his fault. Many would look at him and see nothing that resembles a real man. His imagination is his escape, which makes Mitty happy, as he declares himself "undefeated" and "inscrutable" (1364). Mitty might know how to escape his awful world but he is taking a chicken's way out.…
Thurber, James. (1981) "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." The Norton Anthology of Short
Fiction. New York W.W. Norton and Company. Print.
Faulkner, William. "Barn Burning." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Vol. II. Paul
Lauter, ed. Lexington D.C. Heath and Company. 1990. Print.
post, questions How categorize point view [e.g., -person, -person (i.e., "), -person limited, -person omniscient]? Is point view consistent story (told perspective), shift points narrative? (If, make note occur.
The point-of-view of this rendition of "Little Red Riding Hood" could best be characterized as third-person omniscient. The narrator knows everything that is transpiring in the story as it happens, even though certain aspects of the tale (such as the fact that the wolf wants to eat Little Red Riding Hood) are not known to the protagonist in the 'real time' of the storytelling. The narrator knows, for example, that the wolf is wary of the nearby woodsmen, so he does not eat Little Red Riding Hood right away, but instead contrives to locate where the grandmother's house might be. Red Riding Hood is ignorant of this fact and happily directs the wolf to the house.
Midway through the story, the…
This sentence, although it talks about bowels, is really describing the mother's love of the baby.
This story is written like a detective story. It is very difficult to determine which woman is telling the truth and to determine if King Solomon is actually a bad person or a good person. It does not give the names of the women. They are simple referred to as one woman and the other woman. It does say that they were "harlots," but it does not give any background information about who the women are or how they got involved in this argument. They were simply two women in the same place that had babies at the same time.
Also, it is not clear to the reader rather King Solomon is a bad person or a good person. He does propose to slay the baby and divide it into two half to settle…
The Fight for Life in Dylan Thomas' "Do not go gentle into that good night" and John Updike's "Dog's Death"
Death has proven to be an inspiration for many poets and has been written about throughout history. These poets look at death from differing perspectives and many have argued that it should be fought against while others are more submissive to the concept. In "Do not go gentle into that good night," written by Dylan Thomas (1951), and "Dog's Death," by John Updike (1993), take a stance that accepting death is unnatural and that a person or any living being should fight until the end. In "Do not go gentle into that good night," Thomas argues that death is something that should be fought against and that a person should only succumb to their end when he or she is ready. On the other hand, in "Dog's Death,"…
Coren, S. (20 September 2011). Do dogs feel pain the same way that humans do? Psychology
Today. Accessed 5 May 2012, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201109/do-dogs-feel-pain-the-same-way-humans-do
Donne, J. (1633) "Death Be Not Proud." Bartleby.com. Accessed 5 May 2012, from http://www.bartleby.com/105/72.html
Donne, J. (1633) "A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning." The Norton Anthology of English
Perspectives of Death
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" is one of Dylan Thomas's most recognized poems. In the poem, he urges his father to fight against death even though it is something that everyone must at some point in his or her lives have to accept. On the other hand, Emily Dickinson, in "Because I could not stop for Death," accepts death as a natural part of life and unlike Thomas, does not combat it. Dylan Thomas and Emily Dickinson approach the topic of death from different perspectives with Thomas attempting to rebel against the inevitable and Dickinson passively submitting to her end.
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" was written for Thomas's dying father and is stylistically structured as a villanelle where only two sounds are rhymed. The poem is composed of 19 lines, rhyming the first and third lines, with an alternation…
Alliteration. (n.d.). Accessed 6 February 2012 from, http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/alliteration.html
Anaphora. (n.d.). Accessed 6 February 2012 from, http://rhetoric.byu.edu/figures/a/anaphora.htm
Dickinson, E. (n.d.). "Because I Could Not Stop For Death." Poets.org. Accessed 6 February 2012 from, http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15395
Donne, J. (n.d.) "Death Be Not Proud." Bartleby.com. Accessed 6 February 2012 from, http://www.bartleby.com/105/72.html
There is a lot of similarity in the works of obert in his poem "The oad Not Taken" and the short story by Welty "A Worn Path." Frost composed the poem in 1916, whereas Welty wrote the short story in 1941. Both of these written works are for the readers to think outside the box and find the true meanings. These writings have a hidden meaning to them and it is up to the reader to think what message the authors are trying to put across. Both writers use stylistic devices to capture the attention of the readers and enable them to form a mental picture of the theme discussed in the writing. In these two writings, one main theme stands out from the rest. The writings point to us to that we might find ourselves in a solitary journey in life whereby we feel that we are…
Benfey, C. (2010). American audacity: Literary essays north and south. Ann Arbor: Univ Of Michigan Press.
Frost, R., & Shmoop University. (2010). The road not taken, by Robert Frost: A lively learning guide. Sunnyvale, Calif.: Shmoop University.
Frost, R., Untermeyer, L., & Frost, R. (1985). The road not taken: A selection of Robert Frost's poems. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
Isaacs N.D. (1963). Life for Phoenix. Web. Retrieved on 5 february 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.enotes.com/worn-path-essays/worn-path-eudora-welty/neil-d-isaacs-essay-date-1963
Visions of Death as Part of the Life Cycle
While the terms "life" and "death" are considered to be polar opposites by most standards, some authors view them as part of the same infinite cycle. For writers like Emily Dickinson and Jean hys, death is merely a transitional stage; it is not the end of existence any more than life is the beginning. Evidence of this view of death as a part of the ongoing cycle of life can be seen most prominently in Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" and in hys' "I Used to Live Here Once."
The most notable similarity between Dickinson's poem and hys' short story is that both of the narrators watch children play in the splendor of the natural world while they themselves are no longer a physical part of that world. The primary difference between these two works is that Dickinson…
Dickinson, E. Because I could not stop for death, Retrieved from http://www.online-literature.com/dickinson/443/
Rhys, J. (1992) I used to live here once, In The Collected Short Stories, W.W. Norton & Company
Smith & Walke
Both Smith and Walke who wite about the plight of black people and the feelings of inevitability and acism can invoke in Black people and in thei lives. A significant diffeence between the poem and the shot stoy is the geneation and age of the individuals. Wheeas Walke's shot stoy is concened with the acism and pain expeienced by an eldely Afican-Ameican woman in the post-civil ights ea, Smith is concened with a young woman in the same ea. The eldely woman is in ual county and the young woman, as evidenced by Smith's efeence to 'Motown' is in an uban setting. The disconnect both women feel fom both thei bodies and fom thei suoundings is the unifying thead that binds these two seemingly dispaate stoies. I am inteested in exploing the theme of alienation fom one's suoundings and fom one's body that lie at the heat…
references have left her feeling alien her own skin. Returning to the reference of the mirror in the poem, it is clear that the alienation is based on a belief that things should be otherwise and that the reflections failure to look like the acceptable image in the minds of the young women is seen as a betrayal. Whereas Walker's woman is triumphant in the end, even in death, Smith's woman, who may also be dead, is consumed by far more pedestrian matters of the heart.
In both pieces the very last image is one of death. Smith's death imagery manifests itself in the form of a male grabbing a woman and collapsing her into his fingers (Smith, line 20). On the other hand, the death of old woman in Walker's short story is far from metaphorical; her death is quite literal and very visceral. While there is room to interpret the story ending in the Smith poem as an ending which is related to heartbreak or the end of a relationship or the loss of a woman's identity in the context of the relationship, there is no alternative interpretation of the old woman's passing (Walker, 87). Her animation at getting to see Jesus even as she has been evicted from the lord's house as it would be called is metaphorical and literal at the same time. Her death, on the other hand, the one where there is a dead old woman's body on the side of the highway where she had been spotted walking is quite literal. In the end the similarities of both the authors and the characters outweigh the differences. Although, it must be said that one has a triumphant ending and the other one is darker.
Byrd, R.P. & Gates R., H. (2011) Jean Toomer's Conflicted Racial Identity. Chronicle of Higher Education, 57(23), B5-B8(3), pp. 31-46.
Macdonald, G. (2010) Scottish Extractions: Race and Racism in Devolutionary Fiction. Orbis Litteraium, 65(2), pp. 79-107.