The Catbird Seat
The Catbird Seat
By: James Thurber
In the story “The Catbird Seat,”James Thurber shows how the story
relates to everyday life in the working world. This could be a fictional or a
nonfiction story, by changing the fictional characters to people on any person’s
job. In the workplace around the world there are people like the two Main
For example, the average employee does not socialize with co-workers outside
of the workplace so the average worker would not know what a person’s
personality is outside the workplace. In the story ” The Catbird Seat”
when Mr. Martin does something that the co-workers have never seen him do.”
If any of the staff at F& S had seen him buy cigarettes, they would have
been astonished, for it was generally known that Mr. Martin did not smoke, and
never had. No one saw him.”(632). Also looking at the last part of the
preceding quote, I would say that the author is showing his opinion of Mr.
Martin, in saying that Mr. Martin is not as faultless as others perceive him to
be. “No one saw him”(632).
In reading the story, the author tells about Mr. Martin’s personality.
Thurber, shows how other characters feel about him and the way his
personality changed outside of work.. The other characters thought of Mr.Martin
as a man who could do know wrong “Man is fallible but Martin
Mr. Martin has mixed feelings for Mrs. Barrows, but over time his feelings
seem to grow more negative as he comes in contact with Mrs. Barrow more. First,
Mr. Martin finds Mrs. Barrows annoying because of her daily tormenting for two
years. She would confront him with silly phrases such as ” Are you lifting
the oxcart out of the ditch.”(633). But rather than murder her, he
dismissed the idea. Then later from one of the co-workers point of view Mr.
Martin had shown that he saw something good in Mrs. Barrows by being polite to
her even though she annoyed him. One co-worker’s is quoted as saying to Mr.
Martin.” Why I even believe you like the woman.”(633). But rather than
hating her, he continues with his plan to “rub out” Mrs.Barrows.”
the term ” rub out” pleased him because it suggested nothing more that
the correction of an error.”(632).
In the final scene, the true personality of Mr.Martin comes out. A side that
none of his co-workers have ever seen. Mrs. Barrows was even surprised to see
Mr.Martin smoking and more so drinking.
In my opinion, Thereby Thurber uses the character’s Mr. Martin and Mrs.
Barrows to show that a person personality can change to circumstances.
In concluding, “The Catbird Seat” by James Thurber reminds me of a
newspaper story “The Gaffney Strangler”. A lady rode to work with him
daily and never had the slightest idea that he was ” The Gaffney
Thurber, James. ” The Catbird Seat”. Literature: An Introduction To
Poetry, and Drama. Ed.X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 6th ed. New
York: Longman, 1999. 632-638