Sometimes a person’s life is not as exciting as they want it to be. People often try to excite their lives through various methods. In the short stories, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Open Window”, both main characters try to stimulate their lives by changing the perception of reality. First, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, by author James Thurber tells the reader about a story where a man tries to escape his extremely mundane life with numerous fantasies.
For example, Walter Mitty’s daydream comes as he waits for his wife and picks up an old copy of Liberty and visions himself fighting Germany while volunteering to pilot a plane normally piloted by two people. “The cannonading has got the wind up in young Raleigh, sir,” said the sergeant. Captain Mitty looked up at him through tousled hair. “Get him to bed,” he said wearily. “With the others. I’ll fly alone. ” “But you can’t, sir,” said the sergeant anxiously. It takes two men to handle that bomber and the Archies are pounding hell out of the air (Thurber 1). Here, what is thought-provoking is main focus of this story is that the protagonist makes his life seem better than it really is through vivid daydreaming. Walter uses his daydreams of an exciting, James Bond-like life to escape the nightmare of his incredibly boring, and entirely predictable life. His wife allows his regular life no adventure whatsoever, for she even fears going above the minimum speed limit on the highway.
Yet in his mind, he is able to live the type of life that he so desires. Likewise, in “The Open Window” by Hector Munro, the main character, Vera, also tries to escape her boring life by telling Framton Nuttel a deceptive story just for her own amusement. Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day’s shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favorite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog (Munro 1).
Vera lives in a dull time where all she can do is what people tell her, so she has to find ways to distract herself from her tedious life. Vera shows how her sweet and innocent nature is all but a front of her mischievous and slightly cruel character. Vera is extremely self-possessed and mature beyond her years; her imagination is flamboyant but so overpowering it is almost as though she gives into it. She also made up a story to her family at the end of the story to keep her game going.
However, the key difference in the two stories is that in Thurber’s story, the story mostly focuses on Walter Mitty and how his daydreams are continuously interrupted by his real life. On the other hand in Open Window, Vera tries to make her life interesting through deceit which is negatively affecting other people’s lives. In a sense, both stories are about using imaginative performances to change their lackluster reality into something more stimulating.
Now, what’s interesting about both stories is that both can be looked at as being humorous. The actions of both of the main characters result in the audience seeing through their fictitious lives and find comedy. In “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, after Walter Mitty imagines himself being on a witness stand being questioned by a high powered attorney, he comes out of saying something completely ridiculous and random people on the street thought he was strange: “Puppy biscuit,” said Walter Mitty.
He stopped walking and the buildings of Waterbury rose up out of the misty courtroom and surrounded him again. A woman who was passing laughed. “He said ‘Puppy biscuit’,” she said to her companion. “That man said ‘Puppy biscuit’ to himself. “(Thurber 1). This is amusing because in every single one of the main character’s daydream, he could talking to himself out loud without even knowing what that he is doing it.
It could be argued that Mitty probably took his imaginations to another level, and the audience starts to pity him, which means they could be laughing at him, not with him. Similarly, in “The Open Window”, as a result of hearing Vera’s story, Framton Nuttel is slowly starting to get nervous and when he finally sees Vera’s family walking towards the houses he finally has freaks out and runs out of the house: Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall door, the gravel drive, and the front gate were dimly noted stages in his headlong retreat.
A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the hedge to avoid imminent collision (Munro 1). This is also funny because the moment the three figures showed up and walked towards the house the audience relies that Vera made the whole story and Nuttel’s freak out becomes very funny to