How The Short Stories Button Button, The Intruder And The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Uses Imaginations

Imagination Essay

A person's mind enables consciousness, thinking, reasoning, perception, and judgment. Along with imagination, the mind is a powerful force which people use in a variety of positive or negative ways; it can bring comfort or relief to someone, as well as danger, derision, or even death. In the short stories "Button Button", "The Intruder", and "The Secret life of Walter Mitty", each character was able to use his or her imagination to bring important changes to his or her life.

In the short story “Button Button” by Richard Matheson, the protagonist Norma imagines about the better apartment, the trip to Europe, and the better life she and her husband are going to enjoy by pressing the button. This fantasy has brought her comfort and relief, but also along with indignation and embarrassment when she misunderstood Arthur’s criticism of her as greedy and self-centered. What Arthur couldn’t bear was the idea of murder. His imagination of a person dying only because of their greed has caused him great disturbance.

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This controversy of murder and pressing the button was brought up again the next morning and caused Norma to wonder what would actually happen if she pressed the button. “She pressed it down. For us, she thought angrily.” The idea of getting $50,000 for the family and the imagination of a person dying somewhere else unrelated to her had caused her to press the button. However, Norma would never think that it was her husband that had to pay the price of ,000.

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Her greed and fantasy of the $50,000 would in the end result in the death of her husband.

Another example of death from imagination would be in the story “The Intruder” by Ander Dubus. Kenneth Girard, an ordinary teenager, would conceive up a prowler trying to get into his house after hearing some noises in front of the house. This imagination maybe the result of Schizophrenia, but it has caused him to kill the “prowler” instantly with one shot to the head. Even though Kenneth’s father told him that he didn’t shoot Douglass and there was indeed another prowler, Kenneth still suffered from the imagination of killing Douglass. Afterwards, Kenneth would then perceive himself as a mighty angel, “Throwing all guns and cruelty and sex and tears into the sea.” By imagining himself as holy and as innocent as an angel, Kenneth would find at least some comfort in being himself.

Another short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” presents us with Walter Mitty, who uses his imaginations. In his daydreams, Walter becomes a valiant commander in a Navy hydroplane, a rich surgeon assisting a friend of president Roosevelt, an excellent marksman as a suspect in a murder case, an audacious WWI pilot, and a defiant prisoner. All those fabricated stories give him the ability to escape real world events and frustrations by always appointing him as the hero in his day dreams. His imaginations not only brought great dangers to himself but also to his wife as he was racing down the road going up to 55mph. If his wife had not awakened him, his imaginative hydroplane might have crashed along with his racing car. The dangers of his imagination have caused much trouble with his life and with his wife.

For each character of the three short stories, imagination has been an extremely important factor that shaped and changed his/her life. The way they use their imagination was not always well intended, but alleviation, relaxation, as well as jeopardy were all experienced by the characters. From Norma to Walter, imagination is the only and most powerful tool they can utilize in their ordinary lives.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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How The Short Stories Button Button, The Intruder And The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Uses Imaginations. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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