Short stories are always exciting and are always able to hold the reader’s interest on the highest level all along its not too long but interesting narration. Every short story is bound with rather a traditional range of particular traits. Each system or mechanism has its own rules of functioning. Short story as a pattern of literary synthesis of “big” and “little” is a well-developed mechanism as well having its own line of development. So, what is short story familiar with? What its traits are the most prominent as to this genre of literature? The answer is rather simple and complicated at the same time. Short story is an impulse. It’s a tense emotional and narrative coupling which is to present to the reader a set of actions having as its background a short but rich accompaniment. Short story always has certain advantages in comparison with long-time consuming novel. Short story due to the necessity to show many events in short form is able to catch in itself an infinitive chain of events and relations. All elements work together – this is the first and the most important issue regarding short story. That is quite easy to be explained. An action by a protagonist of short story described to the reader at the beginning of the novel (not so important at first glance) results to be a trump of a whole narration.
The story must be plausible – that is an especially considerable point for short form. Fantastic and imaginable elements are rather proper of fiction fantastic literature then to belong to a short story narrative style. The short story must impress in order to become a hot point. And it is well-known that only real and touchable events can efficiently influence human’s mind and imagination.
The story must be fresh. To be fresh – that means to be always actual for any historical epoch or social layer. A really good short story is able to give a good shot no matter what is dedicated to. That is “The Secret life of Walter Mitty” story by James Thurber which may be considered to be so. This story (though it can be called essay as well) is a bright example of realization of the above mentioned principle particularities of short story. All its elements and semantic joints act in some kind of unique and simultaneous rushing. Walter Mitty’s arm in a sling which we get known of at the beginning of the novel as an ordinary testimony of Walter’s carelessness in treating the chains, results to be a key argument for Walter’s attorney’s objection. The war theme passes all the through the novel thus unifying all of them and interlacing with the background events of the novel. And it is exactly here the main paradox which testifies that all the elements of the novel work together: it is practically impossible to understand which narration line is the leading one – the war which “thundered and whined around the dugout and battered at the door” (Thurber, 1983, n. p.) or the Mitty’s acquiring of overshoes.
The story is plausible – that is a certain fact speaking about the story in case. The dialogues which take place between Mitty and his wife give a complete feeling of reality. The efforts which Mitty makes in order to remember what he has to buy (“what its name is”) according to the requirements of his wife – these are the story components which remind each of us the environment of our real life.
“The Secret life of Walter Mitty” is fresh. First of all, because it’s plausible and all the plausible is always fresh because it’s actual. What features the story must have in order to be called plausible? The answer is simple- it must be about real things. The story about Walter Mitty is a life story, it’s not any kind of romantic novel or detective story – it’s a real description of Walter Mitty’s life, a life story of a man who is so undefeated and inscrutable. Each of us is eager of being so – being like Walter Mitty – and that is why the story is fresh: because it gives to the reader a hot point to think about. “We only live once…” (Thurber, 1983, n. p.) – this statement makes such stories as “The Secret life of Walter Mitty” to be really fresh and actual as it refers the secret life of each of us which we would like to live through so much.
- Thurber, J. (1983). The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Creative Education; New Ed edition.