In the story, Thurber uses humor to highlight the war between the sexes. He also uses humor to make another point: human beings are more complex than conventions allow. By using humor, Thurber gently demolishes stereotypes about "strong" males and "weak" females.
Certainly, Mrs. Ulgine Barrows is far from a weak female. In fact, she is the epitome of the old "battle-ax." She is domineering, fierce, and utterly intimidating. Even her words drive fear into the hearts of her male peers. Thurber portrays Mrs. Barrows as a bully who delights in firing off a litany of obscure idiomatic expressions at anyone she deems incompetent. The effect makes us smile, and Thurber cleverly manages to drive home his point: women may be known as the weaker sex, but they're hardly passive creatures.
On the other hand, Mr. Martin is mild, phlegmatic, and overwhelmingly passive. He despises Mrs. Barrows but takes special pains to hide his true feelings from everyone.
Mr. Martin may be physically inconspicuous,...
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