The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and the Story of an Hour Essay

Words: 2738
Pages: 11

Jurrell D. Harrison

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Story of an Hour

Introduction to Literature

Professor Daw

Monday 12th December 2011

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, written by James Thurber (1939) and the Story of an Hour written by Chopin (1894) are the two literary works that will be compared and contrasted in this paper. Both these pieces depict some of the trials and tribulations of a union in marriage, such as the want of independence and excitement; experiences that a marriage can inadvertently inhibit. Not only do both these stories illustrate some of the wants or needs that arise out of marriage, but they both also show how at times; the only means by which desire or necessity can be satisfied or
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Cophin describes what Mrs. Mallard senses through that open window by saying:

[s]he could see… the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

This description utilizes Mrs. Mallard’s senses. Her olfactory, gustatory visual and auditory senses are all in use. Everything that the author describes in her experience suggests joy and spring, freedom and a new life, quite the opposite of what her reality is – confinement and dissatisfaction. By observing these experiences using her biological senses, her experience then becomes a mental process. Her brain processes these stimuli internally, providing her with a feeling of excitement. Like Mitty, the brain and body provide Mrs. Mallard’s escape, the sole difference is Mitty’s escape is a fraction of imagination, Mrs. Mallard’s is a realization of reality, the both are realized within the confines of their minds nonetheless.

While both stories bear striking resemblances in theme, it appears they bear little resemblance in setting. The Story of an Hour is set at the Mallard’s residence. Additionally, as deuced from the title, the story takes place over the course of an hour. From the contents of the story, it