Compare the ways in which Thurber and Dickens have addressed notions on fantasy and reality

The Two stories to be compared are “The Poor Relations Story” written in the 19th Century by Charles Dickens, and “The Secret life of Walter Mitty” written in the 20th Century by James Thurber. Both Stories are written around fantasy and reality. The Poor Relations Story is set in Clapham road, London and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is set in America. The Poor Relations Story is about a man, Michael, aged between 59 and 60, who leads a routined, unexciting lifestyle. He is looked upon as plain and boring, which is basically what he is.He has a quarterly allowance, which he has to live on. Michael’s fantasies are about having a more interesting life.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is about a middle-aged man, Walter, who lives with his dominant and powerful wife. She makes Walter feel weak and demands that he obeys her. He does this because he doesn’t want to agree. His life is just dull and normal. Both Stories use first and third person, which sets how you look upon the character. James Thurber has made Walter Mitty sound stupid and sad, “the greatest pistol shot in the world thought for a moment”.

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This shows how ridiculous he is, and that he has just come out of one of his many fantasies. This has been made so that you see how he gets caught up in both notions and that he thinks a lot of himself. This is ridiculing the character, as he comes out of his fantasy. When talking in third person, it shows how much detail the writer has put into everything, “They went out through the revolving doors that made a faintly derisive whistling noise when you push them” This isn’t needed, but it makes you feel part of the story and describes the noises and surroundings well. Charles Dickens rarely talks in third person.

However, when he does he uses very complex words, “He was very reluctant to take precedence of so many respected members of the family” When talking in fantasy, first and third person is used. In Walter Mitty, third person is used more than first, whereas it’s opposite with the poor relation. Walter Mitty is a powerful character in his fantasies, ranging from a doctor that can fix a machine with a pen, “He pulled a faulty piston out of the machine and inserted the pen in its place” to a suspect murderer that can kill someone “You are a crackshot with any sort of firearms, I believe? He fantasizes about having a life of being depended on, looked up to and having fun. In the poor relations story, Michael dreams of having a normal life, and being wealthy.The writer shows how Michael is weak, and has advantage taken of him. He doesn’t stand up for himself, and lets others deceive and manipulate him, “I borrowed your books and lost them; borrowed your pocket-money and never repaid it; got you to buy my damaged knife’s at a higher price than I had given for them new”He relied on others, for example when his uncle’s inheritance was due to be sorted out. Michael expected to have nothing to do, and for it to be done by the other members of the family “I failed in my account of being as sharp as he could of wished” You can tell “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” was written in the 20th Century because of the language used, which isn’t very complex and uses words such as “hydroplane” and “overshoes”. Also the things they do together like shopping, and the way the surroundings were described.

The Poor Relations Story” was written in the 19th Century which was made clear by the words used; “a half holiday”, “genteel”. Also by the way the surrounding were described. Both Walter and Michael could have been successful in their life if they had stood up for them self’s and to have not been afraid of the consequences. They would have been better off, and not trapped in their own failure and mistakes in life. Both stories are well ended.

The Poor Relations Story has ended by telling us of him having a good, wealthy life with children and a wife.He describes it as “A Castle in the air” Going into another fantasy, which shows nothing is different and things will remain the same, ended the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It could be said that the stories are in ways similar with fantasy and reality… but more noticeably different in their ways of life style, language, places etc. The moral of each story is to not take everything for granted and to stand up for yourself.

Also, to not be ashamed of yourself & your life.