Who is "The Catbird Seat" about, and what happens in the story?  

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story gears around three most important characters: Mr. Martin, the protagonist (a prudish semi anal-retentive filing secretary who is very anal and proud of his job), Mrs Barrows- an absolute witch of a woman, obnoxious, brash, loud, annoying, and slutty who slept her way to the administrative position in Martin's office and Mr. Fitweiler whom ultimately decides the last word in the story and is the manager of the firm (and the lover of Mrs. Barrows)

The story basically is that Mrs Barrows is bullying and messing with Mr. Martin's job, position, and persona and he is trying to find a way to get rid of her. He decides he cannot kill her, so instead he accepts an invitation to her place (she thought he was being seduced by her) and, in the meeting, he unveiled a plot to supposedly destroy Mr. Fitweiler. In the meeting he was drinking, smoking, and doing stuff he never normally does as he is seen as an exemplary, prudish man. But this shocked Barrows enough to kick him out of her place

When the woman Barrows went to complaint about Martin to her boss and lover, her ways were so crazy and loud that she seemed to be hysterical and crazy. Especially since Mr. Martin is famous for not doing any of the things she said he did (which he did, indeed, but..) She was escorted out of the building and labeled as crazy and Martin wins the day by staying the way he is.

Its basically a story of how you are your maker and your breaker.