Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
- When Written: 1939
- Where Written: Connecticut
- When Published: March 18, 1939, in The New Yorker; collected in My World—and Welcome To It (1942)
- Literary Period: Modernism
- Genre: Short Story/Humor
- Setting: Waterbury, Connecticut, around the winter of 1938-1939
- Climax: Walter Mitty stands before the firing squad in his fantasy
- Antagonist: Mrs. Mitty
- Point of View: Close third person
Eighth-Grade Prophecy. As an eighth-grader, Thurber was chosen to write the “class prophecy” for his graduating junior high school class. His prediction reads like one of Walter Mitty’s fantasies: the students go on an adventure in a “Seairoplane” and nearly crash before James Thurber saves the day._
Writing Methods. When he first arrived in New York in 1926, Thurber spent many hours painstakingly perfecting and polishing stories and humor pieces to submit to The New Yorker and other magazines, but his submissions were always rejected. He sold his first piece to the New Yorker after his wife, Althea Adams Thurber, advised him to set an alarm clock for forty-five minutes and submit whatever he had when it rang.