Compare and Contrast Walter Mitty with Rip Van Winkle

Essay by ToboscoeHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2004

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"May Day! May Day! We're going down!" Right before impact you are awaken suddenly by a tapping on your shoulder by your teacher and a class full of laughing peers. It happens to everyone at one point or another. Every high school student has been succumbed to a wild daydreaming adventure. In the short story, "The secret life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber, a man by the name of Walter Mitty can hardly tell reality from his vivid imaginary dreams which undertake him spontaneously as he feuds with his nagging wife. In a very similar short story, "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving, the main character Rip Van Winkle slips away from his domestic problems with his wife to a place of serenity where he can sleep in the peace and quiet of the Catskill Mountains. These two stories possess many striking similarities yet there are many differences between them which make them unique.

Similarities run wild between these two stories. The most noticeable trait in which both stories possess heavily is the portrayal of the wife. In "Rip Van Winkle", Rip's wife is a nagging, mean old hag who gets her kicks out of bossing him around and taking him away from his fun with the neighborhood children and his dog. An extremely strong connection can be made from the wife of Rip to the wife of Walter Mitty. Mitty's wife is obviously a control freq who always has to have things her way, and if things fail to lean in her favor then all havoc breaks loose. "Not so fast! You're driving too fast!" said Mrs. Mitty. "What are you driving so fast for? (Thurber 2)" Another large similarity between Walter and Rip are their overwhelming tendencies to avoid any form...