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Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Necklace - Essay Example

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If you look at the two pieces critically you will find that they have different story lines but the same themes and stylistic devices run through both of them. So we could put forward a hypothesis that both the secret life of Mr. Mitty and the short story Thurber, and the Necklace (de Mauppassant) both use the same literary elements…
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Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Necklace
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Critical Analysis: If you look at the two pieces critically you will find that they have different story lines but the same themes and stylistic devices run through both of them. So we could put forward a hypothesis that both the secret life of Mr. Mitty and the short story Thurber, and the Necklace (de Mauppassant) both use the same literary elements. To start with, the narrator in both stories is the main character and they tell their stories from their own point of view. While this may seam to be an obvious similarity to point out, it sets the pace for us to start noticing the other similarities. The aim of using the first person narrative style is to put the reader in the shoes of the character which helps us understand the views of the narrator much easier by being literary in their shoes. Their perspective may seam unfounded and sometimes illogical but going through their emotions through their first person narrations helps us to understand them better and to even sympathize with them a bit. This is in spite of some of their actions bordering on the ridiculous (Roberts, 1991). When it comes to the content in the two stories, we can safely say that the two stories have dissimilar content as can be gleaned from the way the author goes about developing the two different stories. In the secret life of Walter Mitty, the author takes us through Mr. Mitty’s imaginary scenarios which entail developing several very different and unrelated scenarios in pursuit of developing a story about a man who wishes he had engaged in at least a profession or other activity that would have brought him some adventure. In the Necklace (de Mauppassant) the author sticks to one setting or alters it slightly throughout the story in his quest to develop the tragic events that unfold to present the story in its totality (Manchester, 1968). In both stories, the characters have got to a point in time where they have accepted they will never accomplish their earlier hopes and dreams. Mr. Mitty has as a result got to visualizing dramatic situations with himself as the main character in which the prevailing theme is that he gets a lot of recognition and respect from peers and others. We at the same time get to peer into his real life and find that the opposite is true in his real life where he has very little respect from those he associates with. In his dramatic daydreams, he is in absolute control of adverse situations but in his real life he is dictated to by his wife and even a parking attendant not to mention the mechanics at his garage. Madame Loisel in The Necklace (guy de Mauppassant), is living a life she would rather not be in. she is beautiful enough to have gotten married to a successful man who would have made her rich and she could enjoy the finer things in life. Unfortunately that was not the case as she got married to a man who works hard but his station in life does not allow her to attain her lofty ambitions about her life. She now accepts the drudgery of her life but is secretly bitter and yearns for an escape from her dreary life even if momentarily. This sets the stage up for the tragedy that befalls her and turns her life from bad to worse. The two settings of the stories are very different as one (the secret life of Mr. Mitty) is set in a tranquil run of the mill American town setting with the character an old man daydreaming about a life he would have wanted to live but is now too late for him to attain; while in the Necklace (de Mauppassant) Madam Loisel and her husband are a young couple struggling through life in Paris without the trappings and comforts of success. The two settings also serve as a way to develop the two stories and their themes effectively. The pace or the rate of delivery of the two stories also differ and contribute greatly in the way we get to perceive of the stories. In the secret life of Walter Mitty, we alternate between high octane tense situations and very slow paced mundane scenarios as the main character dips between his daydreams and his real life. In his day dreams, he is always in a very tense and fast paced life and death situation which he has seconds to sort out but in his real life the situation is very slow paced especially since his wife and himself are old people going about their retirement lifestyle. This settings help to show the difference between the life he is living and the life he yearns to have lived. In The Necklace (guy de Mauppassant), the pace is uniform throughout the story as the couple go about a working family’s lifestyle and as they are also still relatively young the storyline is also relatively fast paced, (Napierkowski, 2006). Both narratives use tone to create the imagery that helps develop the story and to further the themes prevalent in the two stories. In the secret life of Mr. Mitty, the tone varies between serious like when in the operating room to half hearted defiance when he is answering his wife after she returns from the hair dresser. In The Necklace (guy de Mauppassant), the tone we gather from Madam Loisel is bitter when the main character thinks of what is missing in her life and it goes on to be dejected and resigned by the time she loses the diamond necklace. The only time we find the tone to be light and jovial; it is very short lived and is setting us up for a bigger problem for the main character. It is in the course of the party where we find madam Loisel dancing and very happy as she feels the admiration from the men in attendance. The author uses different styles to bring forth the two different stories; we are left to make our own judgments as to how effective the styles employed were in delivering the story despite the obvious similarities between the two stories. In the secret life of Walter Mitty, the writer uses humor in his portrayal of the character and his two realities. In the Necklace(guy de Maupassant) the author is very direct and to the point this brings out the story as being very serious and it is a constant tone throughout the story line with only a brief intermission where the main character is very happy as she dances. Even this however is a prelude for a very sad occurrence as they end up losing the diamond necklace which impoverishes them for the next ten years. Irony is plentiful in both stories as well; in The Necklace (guy de Mauppassant), it’s rather ironic when Mr. Loisel gets his wife a ticket to attend a party for the elite in the town. He succeeds in getting the invitation and as such expects her to be over the moon with joy but instead it ends up making her cry. He attempts to cheer her up by buying her an expensive dress and this takes up his savings and to make matters even worse, they end up having to pay for the next ten years for a borrowed diamond necklace that Madame Loisel looses. In the secret life of Walter Mitty, Mr. Mitty leads a very tranquil and uneventful life in real life but is a high flying risk taking, gallivanting hero in his daydreams. In his real life he is an old man who is dominated by his wife and who commands very little respect from those around him. This is very ironic especially after we the readers are taken through a very tense introduction where he is commanding a Navy hydroplane only to be brought back to reality in the end of the same paragraph setting us up for the same scenario over and over again in the story. In conclusion, we find that while many of the literary elements that have been used in the secret life of Walter Mitty are also present in the Necklace(guy de Maupassant), the two literary pieces are different and cannot be classified as being the same in totality in terms of the literary elements employed. References Napierkowski, M. R. (2006). The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Introduction. Short Stories for Students. Vol. 1.. Retrieved 2012-09-13. Manchester, J., & James, T.(1968).The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. New York: Samuel French, Inc. Roberts, E. (1991). Writing Themes About Literature (7th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. p. 4. Read More
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