Critical Essay Example of The Catbird Seat Story

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  748 Words
Date:  2021-04-05

James Thurber, the author of The catbird Seat writes the story about a dull man as perceived by everyone else who plans to get rid of a woman working in his firm, F & S, for changing how the entire company is run. These changes are seen when Mr. Martin considers what the woman, Mrs. Barrows, was doing as swinging at the foundation stones with a pickaxe. The author brings out the fact that Mr. Martin is portrayed in the office as an ordinary little man, however, this is not who he really is. In the story, the catbird seat, Mr. Martin character comes out as one who is very cunning and supports the saying, dont judge a book by its cover. While Mr. Martins workmates may see him as an ordinary employee, he is a cunning man and this is brought out in his actions in the course of the story.

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Mr. Martin's cunningness is brought out by the fact that he portrays himself as an ordinary man in the office yet in the real sense he plans to kill someone. Therefore, it is true to say that this character is brought out in his habit. In the story, the author brings out the fact that Mr. Martin is planning to kill Mrs. Barrows when he writes Mr. Martin had decided to rub out Mrs. Ulgine Barrows. At F & S, he is known to be very meticulous, doesnt change from his routine and was even praised for his habits that were considered temperate when the following was said about him: Our most efficient worker neither drinks nor smokes. As much as Mr. Martin despised Mrs. Barrows, his cunningness is brought out by virtue that he always seemed to maintain polite tolerance of her at F & S. This, however, was not the true picture of who Mr. Martin was. He was planning to kill the same woman he was showing tolerance and patience too. It is also his cunning habit that makes it possible for Mr. Fitweiler to believe him over Mrs. Barrows when Mrs. Barrows accuses him of the things he had done at her apartment (Thurber, 1942).

Mr. Martin's cunning character is also brought out in his planning to kill Mrs. Barrows. The fact that he is able to plot to kill Mrs. Barrow for quite some time and even make it part of his daily schedule but still go unnoticed makes him very cunning. Mr. Martin is able to maintain his routine and the only thing out of the ordinary was when he went to buy the cigarettes. It requires someone with the skill or cunning enough to plan to kill someone for some time and still go unnoticed. This brings out his character as a cunning man that he able to make this plan and still make it impossible for anyone to find out (Bernardo, 2014).

Mr. Martin's character as a cunning man is also brought out when it comes to the execution of the plot to kill Mrs. Barrows. He had taken time beforehand to come up with a plan on how he would kill Mrs. Barrows. He follows his plot to the later until the moment he gets into the apartment. He then realizes that it would be impossible to take rub out Mrs. Barrows. This, however, doesnt mean that his plan fails. It is his cunning character that enables him to come up with another idea. This really supports the words that Mr. Fitweiler had used to describe him when he said, Man is fallible but Martin isnt. Mr. Martin knew that if he kept to his routine, Mrs. Barrows accusing him would be disregarded and that is exactly what happened (Hrymel, 2015).

From the story and analysis of Mr. Martin, it is clear that indeed no person should be judged by who they portray themselves to be. This is because no one is exactly the same as people perceive them to be. It is important to know that people do have secrets ad their true character is defined by what they do when no one seems to be watching.

Total Number of words (688).


Bernardo K. (2014). An Analysis of James Thurber's 'The Catbird Seat'. Retrieved from Accessed on February 10, 2017

Hrymel D. (2015). Character Analysis of the Catbird Seat by James Thurber. Retrieved from Accessed on February 10, 2017

Thurber J. (1942). The Catbird Seat. Retrieved from Accessed on February 10, 2017

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