“The Secret Life of Life of Walter Mitty,” a short story by James Thurber that first appeared in "The New Yorker," is one of the most widely known stories of a wimpy husband. Others include “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?” by Edward Albee and “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving.
In Thurber’s 1939 story, Walter Mitty daydreams to escape the constant nagging of his wife and imagines himself in a series of hyper-masculine roles, such as a deadly assassin and a bomber pilot. George, the husband in Albee’s 1962 play, turns to alcohol to escape the verbal and physical assaults of his wife Martha and his failure as a husband. In Irving’s 1819 short story, hen-pecked Rip Van Winkle avoids his wife’s nagging by retreating to the mountains and falling asleep for 20 years only to awaken and return home after her passing.