Learn all about the personality type of Walter Mitty, including personality traits and frequently asked questions.
Who is Walter Mitty?
Walter Mitty is the title character in James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” first published in The New Yorker in 1939, and later adapted into a film in 1947 and again in 2013.
In the story, Walter Mitty is portrayed as an ordinary, mild-mannered man living a mundane life.
However, he frequently escapes his drudgery through vivid daydreams in which he is the heroic protagonist in a series of adventures, ranging from a daring pilot in a storm to a world-class surgeon performing a complex operation.
These fantasies are often inspired by mundane events in his life, reflecting his desire for excitement and significance.
Despite his tendency to retreat into his imagination, Walter Mitty’s character embodies the universal human longing for adventure, respect, and self-realization.
Walter Mitty Personality Type
What personality type is Walter Mitty?
Walter Mitty, the protagonist from “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” aligns closely with the INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) personality type in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Type Nine with a One wing on the Enneagram.
As an INFP, Walter Mitty exhibits the characteristic traits of introspection, idealism, and the desire for a unique identity.
The ‘Introverted’ aspect is showcased by his quiet demeanor and preference for solitude, which allows him to retreat into his vivid and complex inner world of daydreams.
The ‘Intuitive’ and ‘Feeling’ parts are represented by his vivid imagination and the emotional intensity of his daydreams.
He doesn’t just visualize scenarios, he feels them deeply.
The ‘Perceiving’ component is demonstrated by his flexible, open-ended nature, as evidenced by his ability to drift into fantasies spurred by random real-world triggers.
The Type Nine’s desire for peace and harmony, often resulting in a tendency to avoid conflict, is evident in Mitty’s submissive, placid nature in his everyday life.
He seems to seek inner and outer peace, as well as comfort and finds this in his daydreams where he has control and can resolve conflicts heroically.
The One wing (“The Perfectionist”) likely contributes to his vivid and structured daydreams where he exhibits perfection.
In these dreams, he is not just competent but excels, providing a counterpoint to his real-world struggles with self-esteem and effectiveness.
Overall, as an INFP and Enneagram Nine with a One wing, Walter Mitty represents a deep desire for a more significant, idealized existence, a life that aligns with his personal values, and the drive to be seen as competent and valuable.
5 Walter Mitty Personality Traits
So, what are some of the personality traits of Walter Mitty?
Let’s take a look at these personality traits in more detail:
Walter Mitty’s most defining trait is his rich imagination.
He constantly escapes into a world of daydreams where he plays the hero in a variety of scenarios.
His imagination is so vivid that it often blurs the boundary between his dream world and reality.
In his real life, Walter Mitty is quite submissive, often yielding to the wishes and demands of others, particularly his domineering wife.
He rarely asserts himself or takes decisive action. This passive nature is in stark contrast to the assertive, daring characters he embodies in his daydreams.
Walter Mitty tends to be introspective and spends a lot of time in his own inner world.
He reflects on his life and circumstances, primarily through his daydreams, where he processes his feelings and aspirations.
This trait contributes to his rich imagination and fuels his daydreams.
Mitty’s passivity is noticeable in his everyday life. He tends to go along with the flow, seldom taking initiative or asserting his desires.
This passiveness is offset in his fantasies, where he often takes on active, decisive roles.
Mitty is deeply idealistic, a trait that manifests in his daydreams where he imagines himself in heroic roles and scenarios.
He yearns for a life of adventure, significance, and respect, starkly contrasting his mundane existence.
His idealism highlights his deep-seated dissatisfaction with his actual life and his longing for something more fulfilling.
Walter Mitty FAQs
Who is Walter Mitty?
Walter Mitty is the protagonist of James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” originally published in The New Yorker in 1939.
He is a quiet, mild-mannered man who frequently escapes his ordinary life through vivid daydreams in which he embarks on extraordinary adventures.
What does Walter Mitty daydream about?
Walter Mitty’s daydreams are varied and imaginative, and he always assumes a heroic role.
His fantasies include being a daring pilot, a world-class surgeon, a deadly assassin, and a fearless war veteran, among others.
These daydreams are often inspired by everyday events or things he comes across.
Why does Walter Mitty daydream?
Walter Mitty uses his daydreams as an escape from his mundane and uneventful life.
Through these fantasies, he is able to experience the adventure, respect, and significance that he lacks in his real life.
They also serve as a means for him to exert control and assertiveness, in contrast to his submissive nature in reality.
Is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” based on a true story?
No, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a work of fiction written by James Thurber.
However, the character of Walter Mitty and his daydreams have become widely recognized symbols of the human desire to escape reality and the longing for a more exciting and significant life.
What is the difference between the real Walter Mitty and the one in his dreams?
In reality, Walter Mitty is a quiet, submissive, and somewhat passive man living a fairly ordinary life.
However, in his daydreams, he transforms into various heroic figures who are assertive, competent, and in control.
These imagined characters represent his ideal self and the life of adventure and significance he yearns for.