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, because she is changing how the entire company is run. These changes are seen when Mr. Martin considers what Mrs. Barrows is doing as swinging at the foundation stones with a pickaxe (Thurber 2). 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 is. In the story, The Catbird Seat, Mr. Martin turns out to be very cunning and clever, not the boring little man. While Mr. Martins co-workers may see him as an ordinary employee, the reader sees that he is a cunning man and this is brought out in his actions in the course of the story.
Mr. Martins cunning nature 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 habits. 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 (Thurber 1). At F & S, Mr. Martin is known to be very meticulous, does not change from his routine and is even praised for his positive habits. For instance, his workmates refer to him as, our most efficient worker neither drinks nor smokes (Thurber 3). As much as Mr. Martin despised Mrs. Barrows, his cunningness is brought out by virtue that he always seems to maintain politeness and tolerance of her at F & S. In contrast, this is not the true picture of who Mr. Martin is. He is planning to kill the same woman he is showing tolerance and patience. 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 has done at her apartment.
Furthermore, Mr. Martins cunning character is also brought out in his planning to kill Mrs. Barrows. The fact that he plots to kill Mrs. Barrow for quite some time and even makes it part of his daily schedule but still goes unnoticed makes him very cunning. Mr. Martin maintains his work routine, and the only thing out of the ordinary is when he goes 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. Therefore, this brings out his character as a cunning man because he is able to make this plan and still make it impossible for anyone to find out.
In addition, Mr. Martins character as a cunning man is also brought out when it comes to the execution of the plot to kill Mrs. Barrows. He has 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 kill Mrs. Barrows. Even though his well-thought plan does not work this time, it does not mean that his plan fails. It is his cunning character that enables him to come up with another idea, which supports the words that Mr. Fitweiler has used to describe him when he says, Man is fallible but Martin isnt (Thurber 1). Mr. Martin knows that if he keeps to his routine, Mrs. Barrows accusing him would be disregarded, and that is exactly what happens.
In conclusion, from the story and analysis of Mr. Martin, it is clear that, just as we should not judge a book by its cover, we should not judge people by what they seem to be or what they portray themselves to be. In essence, since people have secrets, hidden personalities and habits, no one is exactly the same as what we perceive them to be. The true character of an individual is what they do when no one is watching. For this reason, we should be wary of what people could do to us, even if they appear friendly.
Bernardo, Karen, editor. An Analysis of James Thurber's The Catbird Seat. Http://Www.storybites.com/Book-Reviews/the-Catbird-Seat-by-James-Thurber.php. , Storybites, Jan. 2014, www.storybites.com/book-reviews/the-catbird-seat-by-james-thurber.php.++. Accessed 7 Feb. 2017.
Rymel, Haley. Character Analysis of The Catbird Seat by James Thurber. LetterPile, LetterPile, 12 Oct. 2015, letterpile.com/books/The-Cunning-of-Mr-Martin-Character-Analysis. Accessed 7 Feb. 2017.
Thurber, James. The Catbird Seat. Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense. 6th ed. Edited by Laurence Perrine and Thomas R. Arp, Harcourt Brace, 1993, pp. 265-372.
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