“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” by James Thurber, really captured my attention, mainly due to the fact of its key literary concepts: imagination and tone, but also partly because I am one of those people who often gets caught up in daydreaming and thinking of things that don’t have to do with day-to-day matters. I am also in the military so I understand the feeling of being somewhere and have daydreams or glimpses of my deployments in another country. For example, if my wife and I go to a fair or somewhere with a lot of people, I often get overwhelmed and flashback to my deployment in Afghanistan where you didn’t really know who to trust or if there was a suicide bomber amongst the group. I truly agree with Mark Twain’s quote from the text that states, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”. This makes me think of someone falling asleep at the wheel driving. If you are imaging your bed and a soft pillow and have the music playing low, it is taking your eyes out of focus and could cause them to close for a brief second or more. In the short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, the author takes the reader on a trip through his imagination of the character Walter Mitty by pulling the reader into Walter’s daydreams:
"Full strength in No. 3 turret!" shouted the Commander. "Full strength in No. 3 turret!" The crew, bending to their various tasks in the huge, hurtling eight-engined Navy hydroplane, looked at each other and grinned. "The Old Man'll get us through," they said to one another. "The Old Man ain't afraid of hell!"
This brief daydream of Walter daydreaming that he is a commander of an 8-engine Navy hydroplane causes Walter’s wife to be scared and frightened by the speed that Walter was driving.
Throughout the story and during the conversations between the two characters, we, as readers, can put ourselves in that situation and really engage with the character. Tone is the mood or attitude reflected in a literary work. It is important in identifying this because it helps to see how the author conveys a person or subject matter. It can also make the reader actually feel what the character is feeling. The tone in this story is humor, excitement, adventure, and confidence, but also serious with concern when it discusses the importance and need for communication in human relationships, especially marriage relationships. After a series of even more daydreams, Walter’s wife finds him in a hotel with a bit too much to drink and again due to lack of communication argues with her about the overshoes he had gotten per her request. You can sense the bitterness in his wife’s…