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Compare And Contrast Essay

2363 words - 10 pages

Compare and contrast “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Necklace”

Dreams, sacrifice, marital unhappiness and escapism are often themes involving men and women in English Literature. Throughout history, stories have been filled with main characters living out fantasies and dreams, hoping for more out of their own lives, only to find they had what they wanted right in front of them, all along. These aforementioned these are the main focuses of the two stories I am going to write about, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” by James Thurber and “The Necklace,” by Guy de Maupassant. The main characters in these two stories are, Walter Mitty, in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and ...view middle of the document...

  In reality, Walter was driving a vehicle, taking his wife to the beauty parlor. Mrs. Mitty brings his colorful fantasy to a screeching halt by yelling at him to slow down.   Walter’s day dream stops abruptly, as he realizes his wife was yelling “Not so fast!” (Thurber). Walter fantasized in order to justify his hurtling through the streets of Waterbury, Connecticut. Truth be told, Walter was not breaking the law, just merely going faster than his wife would have, had she been driving. Walter’s daydream was one way of tuning out his wife, which shows the current world seems to have no use for him.  
Similarly in “The Necklace,” Mathilde Loisel is in what she believes to be an unhappy marriage. She married a man with no real wealth and realizes her life will never be one of fashion of high society. This story paints the picture of a women with extreme good looks, who is charming, misunderstood but loved by a man she does not love, mostly due to his low class in society and stature in her eyes. As the story opens, much as Walter’s story, we read of a woman who spends her time dreaming of all the riches and glory she doesn't have, describing of how miserable Mathilde is in her life. She sits dreaming of silent rooms nicely decorated and her own private room, scented with perfume to have intimate "tete-a-tetes" with her closest friends.   Then she is awakened, only to realize that she is in her own grim apartment.   In her eyes, she lives a tortured and unfair life. de Maupassant describes her as "suffered intensely, feeling herself born for every delicacy and every luxury.” (de Maupassant) yet “She suffered from poverty of her dwelling, from the worn walls, the abraded chairs, the ugliness of the stuffs.” (de Maupassant). She feels herself destined for all delicacies and luxuries and isn’t appreciative of what her husband has done for her. Both Walter and Mathilde dream to escape the life they have, the mundane life they have grown to share with spouses they do not particularly like, and the world that surrounds them. Walter escapes to a life of heroism and bravery, Mathilde to a lavish life of luxury.
Another comparison is the fact both stories have overbearing wives. One wife is the secondary character in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and the other wife is the main character in “The Necklace.” In “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Walter is mild manner, quiet, very much a loner and to himself type of man, but his wife is a nag, demeans him, all while pestering him at every moment in the story. When Walter drives fast, she tells him to slow down, when Walter stops the car to let her out, she badgers him with, “Why don’t you wear your gloves? Have you lost your gloves?” “Remember to get those overshoes while I get my hair done” “You’re not a young man any longer.” (Thurber) And later in the story, she was aggravated at him when she couldn’t find him, pestering him to make sure he purchased the right items she...

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