Critical Response Walter Mitty
Ta-pockets-pockets: the analysis of Mitt’s character In The Secret Life of Walter Amity, by James Thurber, Walter Amity desires dominance, but knows that he cannot achieve his dreams due to the constant put down by his controlling wife. Walter, a middle-aged man has daydreams to assert his dominance which he does not have in his real life.
Amity starts to daydream that he Is a “commander” of a “nay hydroplane” and he Is trying to save his whole crew from a “hurricane”, all the males see him as their savior as they believe the “Old Manual get s through”(CLC) (Thurber 1 In the protagonist’s fantasy, the navy hydroplane plane Is used as a phallic symbol to establish Malt’s dominance, as he saves the crew using his masculinity, while his commander status represents his power over other males.
Walter is looked up by other males and is portrayed as the most dominant and powerful one out of the others. Although Amity fantasize that he is the alpha male, in reality he is the one being controlled by his spouse. Walter’s wife controls most of the things that he does by giving him commands, you’re driving too fast… , I don’t like to o more than forty [miles], Mrs… Amity treats Walter like a child by ordering , “get those overshoes… ,why don’t you put on your gloves, [did] you lose your gloves'(l).
The main character’s spouse Is the dominant one in the relationship; she controls Amity and treats him Like a child which puts him down. Not only Is the protagonist brought down by his wife, but also by others. First, he Is being put down by the parking lot attendant who “vaulted Into Mitt’s car and backed It up with Insolent skill” then “a woman who was passing by laughed at him” for saying “puppy biscuits to myself” (2). By constantly being brought down by people, Walter realizes that he is not the dominant man he wishes to be, this crushes his dream.
Due to the constant criticism, Walter no longer sees himself as the dominant male in his daydreams, but as a man that is threatened by other’s dominance and masculinity, which makes him want to die. Walter first daydreams that he is a “captain”, that is going to fly a “bomber” solo while the “pounding of cannons… Machine guns and… The menacing new flame-throwers” are getting closer, then he daydreams that he faces a “firing quad” right after he snapped [his] [cigarette] away” (3).
Even though Walter Is represented In a powerful manner, the background cannons, machine guns and flame-throwers are phallic symbols that represent other men’s dominance which dominate over him. By going against them, Amity knows he Is going to lose which create a suicide mission. In addition, Amity snaps away his cigarette, which dominance as they are more powerful and dominant. While Amity would like to be a dominant man, he knows he cannot do so due to the people around him that regularly put him down, which lead him to his desires of death.