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James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty": A garden path short story [Kindle Edition]

Anastasia Deibert
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,7, University of Stuttgart (Institut für Literaturwissenschaft - Neuere Englische Literatur), course: HS Short Story and Short Story Theory, 14 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: In the following pages I want to focus on James Thurber’s famous short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” which was first published in 1939 in the magazine The New Yorker. Thurber tells the story of a Walter Mitty, a man who lives in a dream world to escape from the routines and humiliations which he suffers in everyday life.
Today the name “Walter Mitty” also exists in the English language and is used for people who are daydreaming and not paying attention to the real world. Walter Mitty became an archetypal American figure.
By reason of the structure of the short story and “Thurber’s own narrative style – economical, lightly ironic, and wonderfully expressive” (Holmes 218) it seems that this short story can be seen as a garden path story. The expression “to lead someone up the garden path” means “to deliberately deceive someone”. Manfred Jahn analysed this short story with respect to his garden path short story theory. Can “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” generally be regarded as a garden path story? What is of particular interest is whether the reader is misled by Thurber’s narrative technique especially at the beginning of the story. What are the reasons for Walter Mitty’s escapist daydreams and how is Mitty’s character presented in the story?
Firstly, I will describe the garden path phenomenon and applied to “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” I will analyse the beginning of the short story. In addition, I will name some hints where the reader realises Walter Mitty’s various daydream episodes. In the next chapter I will concentrate on the story’s two narrative levels. First of all, I will describe Mitty’s development in the course of his daydreams and then I will take a look on the real Walter Mitty. Moreover, I will briefly try to find similarities between James Thurber and Walter Mitty. Afterwards, James Thurber’s narrative style and his sense of humour will be presented. The conclusion will comprise the main points and some suggestions for further discussion.


Product Details

  • File Size: 414 KB
  • Print Length: 23 pages
  • Publisher: GRIN Verlag GmbH; 1 edition (February 19, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007GY7A9W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,388 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.4 out of 5 stars
(5)
2.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars this is NOT the story you're looking for January 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
DO NOT BUY THIS if you want to read the story.
This is only a paper ABOUT the story.
It seems rather opportunistic for anyone to have published this and be selling it for this price.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Slowwww Reading January 16, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just can't seem to get into this book. The history of reading and writing is explored and is sort of interesting. The book just seems to drag for me.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
feel ripped off but first time with my kindle so guess thats pretty good. thought was buying short story not someones 'paper' reviewing the story

i thought 9.99 was bit much but looked and looked b4 buying but still missed it :(

buyer beware i guess
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars this was a fun book December 27, 2013
By Michele
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was seeing the movie the secret life of walter mitty and I wanted to read the book prior to seeing the movie. It was a short, fun read
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Looking October 15, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My main focus in reading this was to find a different perspective from someone who has read "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" which will be hitting theaters this year. What I got was a great illustration/ lesson in identifying garden path stories, plus the citations lead to great further reading.
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