The stories ‘Walter Mitty’ and the ‘Poor Relation’s Story’ are two stories that show people that everyone wants a better life. Whether it is in reality or in fantasy. ‘Walter Mitty’ is a story about a man of the same name who fantasises about a better and more powerful existence, as his wife is dominant. Mitty is in retirement and obviously doesn’t like his new life. In the ‘Poor Relation’s Story’ it is about a man called Michael who also wants a better life. But he lies and says he already has a fantastic life. Both men live in a make-believe world of their own.
Walter Mitty is an elderly man who has just retired and is now forced to spend the rest of his life driving his wife around. He is a very shy man who hasn’t go the confidence to stand up to his wife and has a weak character. Therefore is used as a ‘doormat’ for his wife to wipe her feet on. He is constantly searching his imagination to find the man inside him, using his ideas of what he would have preferred to be. He seems to always drift off to scenes of him in command in the army or in a tense situation.
He seems to want power because his wife restricts his. The Poor relation, Michael, is basically a very subconscious man who doesn’t feel happy at all with his life. He then tends to lie to people about his life and habitat. He is a poor man who is single and has no job. He seems a very sad person who doesn’t have a social life. He lives in run down accommodation that is close to living in squalor. So he feels he has to tell his family and relations lies; about his fantasy life. For example he tells them that he lived in a castle when he actually lives in his bad accommodation. He also told them that he is a shrewd businessman when he is actually a hopeless businessman.
Both men are social failures and have weak characters. They also feel the need to use fantasy as a sort of escape from the harsh reality of their own lives and into a nice life that they seem happy with. Mitty only has to start daydreaming and he will be in his other life. He seems to switch into a military dream. He wants power due to the lack of power he has over his wife and his life. Whereas in The Poor Relation’s Story, Michael is living a constant lie. He is always lying about his life and his existence. This is because his life is so bad and he wants a new life but can’t be bothered to change it and expects things to change so he makes things up to make him seem more interesting.
Walter Mitty only has one day of his life written about. He has a regular visit to town with his wife, which shows his wife’s dominance. He is bossed about and told what to do by his wife. He does a series of errands for his wife and during all the errands he switches back and forth between his fantasy and real lives. He can’t keep his head in one world he has to venture off to his fantasy life. He also seems to have a craving for power.
The poor relation, Michael, has a few days of his life described. It tells us about his cheap life in bad lodgings. He is always telling lies about his life and how he lives. He also hangs round city offices to make it seem as if he has a good job in one of the big city companies. He is a sad character who you can’t help but feel sorry for. He lies about having friends too. He is a loner but hates to let himself know that so he makes up his friends. Both men lead miserable lives that neither can stand. So rather than taking drastic measures they spice up their own life using the realms of fantasy.
Michael is a more sad case because he has to live his fantasy life all the time and live two lives; whereas Walter lives an impossible life. He lets his mind wander into his fantasy life. But it isn’t just one thing. He lives different situations depending on where he is. For example when he is against a wall he s in front of the firing squad and is about to be killed for a serious crime and also he goes to a scene where he is in the stand in court and is being questioned. He makes out he is a fine marksman with any gun. He wants to be more exciting. He wants to be an adventure hero.
Both men want greatness and a status. They seem to be so run down and put down by themselves and everyone else that they want to regain their manhood and self-respect. In both lives they experience a much better a prosperous life where they have a good social standing and power. Walter Mitty his desired power in command. And Michael his business status and social life that has been lacking in his life for so long. Walter Mitty seems to use his fantasy life to make his day more interesting and enjoyable. Michael uses his fantasy life to escape from his sad life and into a new life where he is socially accepted and wanted. He wants to be a shrewd businessman and doesn’t want to be seen as a failure in front of his relatives, so he makes up this make-believe life that makes his family think he has done something good with his life.