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Why do the Poor Relation and Walter Mitty choose to escape from reality in the way they do? How successful are they?

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Introduction

Why do the Poor Relation and Walter Mitty choose to escape from reality in the way they do? How successful are they? Michael, in the Poor Relation's story, escapes from his reality and lives in life where he has no regrets and where everything has happened the way he wanted it to. Walter Mitty on the other hand escapes into a reality where he is not a shy, incompetent man, but a hero in many aspects of life. In this world of his he is respected and brave. Michael seems to be an escapist because it is a better life and he can forget about his poverty; Walter does it to seem a better man in his own eyes and to get away from his bossy, inconsiderate wife. Michael lives in the 19th century where poverty is rife in England and does not have a job, L. 38 'on pretence of going to business, L. 44 'I get through the day'. We learn he is 'unbusiness-like'. We can see how he is poor as he names prices showing he worries over having too little money, For example on L. 45 'of one and threepence'. On the other hand Walter Mitty lives in the 1940's where he has a home and car and does not feel poverty and does not starve. He has a home and wife and a puppy. Buying things is not such a problem, L. ...read more.

Middle

Michael describes four dreams he has. The first two were with Christiana and John Spatter showing how they struck by him and did not abandon him. With Christiana it is very romantic and she devotes herself to him in L. 218 'My dear Michael, I have given you my heart and I have pledged to be your wife.' With John he says 'Now, my good friend, let there, under these friendly circumstances, be a right understanding between us.' In these two dreams he amends the pasts so he can go on living in his head without the feeling of regret. The other two daydreams are about his life and his average daydreams about his grandchildren and going to the theatre. These are not described in detail and are only to give a brief outline of his thoughts and the way he has coped in his years of poverty. His dreams are pieces of misty idealism, romantic worlds. Walter Mitty's daydreams are very detailed and are often triggered by something. For example his second dream was triggered when his wife tells him to go and see Dr Renshaw. From this he starts to dream where Dr Renshaw is a world class surgeon in L. 66 'Renshaw said nervously 'If you would take over Mitty'' and Mitty saves the day in lines 39 - 69. Mitty has many dreams throughout the day, all about different things but all in which he is a key character and the hero. ...read more.

Conclusion

Combined, though, these stories deal with the daydreamers and outcasts of society and serve as a warning to those do not socialise and teaches us that we must be tough in the world, perhaps using out imaginations as a safety-valve. We sympathise with Michael as he has given up on his wasted life. He has been given an incompetent name by his family, which he has lived up to. 'I am nobody's enemy but my own', L. 21 and 103. He seems to look untidy, have very few friends and have a boring, unsociable life. The fact that he did not need to have this is emphasised in the ways his dreams tell us he could have been so much better if certain things had not happened. Walter Mitty seems to be intelligent but he's just not confident enough to speak to people. We do not feel as much sympathy with him as with Michael because he still has a chance to enjoy his life and stand up to his wife, and we hope that he is on the verge of doing so. Walter Mitty and Michael both escape from reality by day dreaming because it makes life so much easier and enjoyable for them. They are both very successful at making a different life for themselves in their minds as they have been day-dreaming for a long time, they have managed to live their lives happily in their own worlds, although their lives in reality are suffering greatly because of it. Helen Morgan Page 1 5/10/2007 ...read more.

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