The Catbird Seat Questions and Answers

The Catbird Seat

In the story, Mr. Martin is cunning, methodical, and diligent. He is also a loyal and reliable employee. Because of these traits, Mr. Martin is regarded with great respect by his boss, Mr....

Latest answer posted October 6, 2016 6:18 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

The conflict in Thurber's "The Catbird Seat" is Mr. Martin's opposition to his co-worker, Ulgine Barrows. Mr. Martin, a staid and steadfast longtime employee of F & S, is disgusted by Mrs....

Latest answer posted August 23, 2016 1:28 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

Another theme of the story is the perennial literary favorite of the worm that turned. You're doubtless familiar with movies where a high school loser goes from being zero to hero, and it's pretty...

Latest answer posted August 10, 2018 9:07 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

Mr. Martin genuinely believes that Mrs. Barrows is planning to reorganize the company's filing department where he works. It's a perfectly reasonable assumption. Since wheedling her way into Mr....

Latest answer posted February 15, 2018 10:02 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

"The Catbird Seat" is a short story written by famed American author, humorist, journalist, and playwright James Thurber, originally published in 1942. In it, the ordinary, quiet, and meticulous...

Latest answer posted December 26, 2019 11:02 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

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...

Latest answer posted April 11, 2018 5:55 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

Mr. Fitweiler hired Mrs. Barrows at his special assistant without knowing anything about her. Fitweiler, who is head of the big New York-based F&S company, is getting old and seems to be...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2016 11:53 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

"The Catbird Seat" starts off like a conventional murder story. The author James Thurber wants the reader to expect that Mr. Martin intends to commit a perfect crime. Ulgine Barrows became a...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2016 2:59 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

A lifelong non-smoker, Mr. Erwin Martin's purchase of a pack of Camel cigarettes was an integral part of his plan to murder his nemesis, Mrs. Ulgine Barrows. Martin had decided that Mrs. Barrows...

Latest answer posted November 13, 2013 2:07 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

There are two major conflicts in the story: Man versus Man and Man versus Himself. Man versus Man is simply shown through the conflict between Erwin Martin and Ulgine Barrows; Martin, a quiet and...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2012 5:54 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

The term for the point of view style in The Catbird Seat is “third person limited” which means that it still uses a narrator of sorts, but the narrator knows the feelings and thoughts of one of the...

Latest answer posted September 14, 2018 6:06 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

Mr. Martin fully intended to kill Mrs. Barrows in her apartment. While she is mixing drinks in the kitchen, he looks all over for a suitable weapon. He considers several objects but decides that...

Latest answer posted June 12, 2016 11:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

The protagonist would have to be Ulgine Barrows, since she comes in from the outside and upsets the status quo. Erwin Martin, the antagonist, doesn't like her from the beginning because they are...

Latest answer posted March 2, 2012 8:27 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

All Mrs. Barrows' accusations against Mr. Martin are true, and she is telling Mr. Fitweiler exactly what Mr. Martin wanted her to tell him. "Is the little rat denying it?" she screamed...."You...

Latest answer posted August 26, 2015 5:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

The more important question is, what did YOU learn? This story, like many of Thurber's stories, presents the conflict between men and women in a humorous and ironic way. So, perhaps you may have...

Latest answer posted August 2, 2010 11:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Mr. Martin wants to lull Mrs. Burrows into a false sense of security to make it easier for him to kill her. So, instead of acting in his usually meek and mild manner, he indulges in the kind of...

Latest answer posted February 6, 2019 6:18 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

The main differences between the two characters are that Mrs. Barrows is female and aggressive, while Mr. Martin is male and both passive and defensive. Related to the latter are that she is...

Latest answer posted January 2, 2019 10:09 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

James Thurber's story "The Catbird Seat" opens with the following sentence: Mr. Martin bought the pack of Camels on Monday night in the most crowded cigar store on Broadway. This purchase was...

Latest answer posted September 20, 2016 6:46 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

The head of F & S, Mr. Fitweiler, is apparently suffering from mental problems brought on by aging. He is under the care of a psychiatrist named Dr. Fitch. According to a woman in Mr. Martin's...

Latest answer posted September 18, 2016 6:47 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Erwin Martin is head of the filing department at F & S, a firm located in Manhattan. This fact is of prime importance to the story because Ulgine Barrows, who has recently been hired as a...

Latest answer posted April 12, 2013 9:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

There are only three characters in James Thurber's story "The Catbird Seat." Erwin Martin and Ulgine Barrows are major characters and Mr. Fitweller is a minor character. Erwin Martin is a timid,...

Latest answer posted June 27, 2012 11:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

She had, for almost two years now, baited him. In the halls, in the elevator, even in his own office, into which she romped now and then like a circus horse, she was constantly shouting these...

Latest answer posted August 25, 2011 11:42 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

Ulgine Barrows' powers depend entirely upon her relationship with the head of the firm, Mr. Fitweiler. Mr. Martin is clever enough to see that he can save his beloved filing department from Ulgine...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2015 2:40 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

The story “The Catbird Seat” appears to have multiple climaxes. Martin is the “head of the filing department” in the company called F & S. Ugline is a new employee who works as a special...

Latest answer posted April 19, 2018 11:36 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

One type of humor that James Thurber uses in his 1942 short story is irony. The protagonist, Mr. Martin, contemplates his plan to "rub out" Ulgine Barrows, but he goes about it in a fair-minded...

Latest answer posted June 26, 2020 11:46 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

You may have noticed that the eNotes editors who originally wrote the summary guides for James Thurber's "The Catbird Seat" gave two different thematic outlines for the story: "Men and Women" and...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2010 8:43 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

The point of view in "The Catbird Seat" is very definitely that of Mr. Martin, head of the filing department for a big corporation. James Thurber focuses intently on Martin's perceptions and mental...

Latest answer posted February 16, 2016 7:32 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

A foil is a person who sets off or enhances another by contrast. Because Erwin Martin and Ulgine Barrows have such opposite personalities and conflicting work ethics for F & S, they make...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2019 3:16 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

In creating the character of Mr. Fitweiler for “The Catbird Seat,” James Thurber had to account for the fact that this president of a large firm would have acted so gullibly in hiring Ulgine...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2012 5:39 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Erwin Martin is a creature of habit, set in his routines and habits. The plot that he hatches to unseat his nemesis, Mrs. Ulgine Barrows, is dependent upon him breaking every code of his...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2011 1:40 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Ulgine Barrows has many unpeasant character traits. Mr. Martin is not the only one in the firm who dislikes her. The company president Mr. Fitweiler seems to be the only one who likes her and...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2012 1:09 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

In "The Catbird Seat" by James Thurber, Edward Martin buys a pack of Camels as part of a plan to kill Ulgine Barrows. When Martin purchases the cigarettes, Thurber says that his coworkers would not...

Latest answer posted November 19, 2017 4:10 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Technically, the literary point of view in this story does not change. The entire piece is written in third person, with Erwin Martin as its main focus. What changes is Mr. Martin’s attitude and...

Latest answer posted August 20, 2017 12:43 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

In the story, Thurber arouses and maintains suspense admirably. First, he makes the protagonist an underdog figure. Mr. Martin is unassuming, mild, and obsessively passive. Thurber pits him against...

Latest answer posted April 11, 2018 7:20 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

The passage is just an extended metaphor. Mr. Martin is thinking that Ulgine Barrows had started her tenure as Mr. Fitweiler's special advisor by making minor organizational changes which were...

Latest answer posted July 21, 2015 1:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

At the beginning of the story, Mr. Martin, who has decided to "rub out" Ulgine Barrows, is reviewing his case against her over a glass of milk. Mr. Fitweiler, who really knows very little about the...

Latest answer posted October 31, 2015 4:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Thurber’s “The Catbird Seat” is the story of Mr. Martin, who has decided that his co-worker needs to be removed from the office. He comes up with an intricate plan to make that happen. The reader...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2019 11:22 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

In this humorous "mystery" a very prim and proper old man, Mr. Erwin Martin, works as a file clerk for a company called F & S, run by a Mr. Fitweiler. Mr. Martin is extremely organized,...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

The whole plot of "The Catbird Seat" hinges on the incongruity between Mr. Martin's character and his boasts to Mrs. Barrows when he comes to her apartment. He is in reality a very conservative,...

Latest answer posted February 6, 2016 7:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

There are many different opinions as to the main purpose of the story, so it's important to evaluate as many of them as possible before arriving at your own conclusions. My own personal take on...

Latest answer posted November 24, 2018 6:58 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

The main theme of this beguiling (for Mrs. Barrows ...) short story is a variation on a general "men and women" theme. We'll find the theme by briefly examining the facts of the story of Mr....

Latest answer posted June 12, 2013 6:56 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Erwin Martin has a problem. A toxic person and bully by the name of Ulgine Barrows has infiltrated his normally quiet, well-organized workplace called F & S. The office has been Mr. Martin’s...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2016 12:36 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

As the main character in James Thurber's short story, "The Catbird Seat," Erwin Martin is an old fuddy-duddy who is a creature of habit and set in his ways. His boss, Mr. Fitweiler--though enamored...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2010 2:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

One example of idiomatic language happens right away. Mr. Martin himself acknowledges he's using idioms when, in just the second paragraph, he reveals his intention to "rub out" Mrs. Barrows. The...

Latest answer posted October 22, 2020 5:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Ulgine Barrows is the relatively new member of the staff of the firm F&S in James Thurber's short story, "The Catbird Seat." After schmoozing the president, Mr. Fitwiler, at a party, he hires...

Latest answer posted December 22, 2009 10:53 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

As the other answers have indicated, the conflict in "The Catbird Seat" is a simple, straightforward one of man against man. The fact that this happens to be a case of man against woman does not...

Latest answer posted July 24, 2016 8:34 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

Ulgine Barrows is obviously a monster. One of Thurber's problems in writing "The Catbird Seat" was to make it plausible that the company president Mr. Fitweiler would hire such a woman without...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2018 6:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

In this story about a meek, mild-mannered obsessive-compulsive man who sees his neat, ordered world that he loves falling apart due to a woman who is his polar opposite. Mr. Martin fears that his...

Latest answer posted April 29, 2008 8:43 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Catbird Seat

More specifically, Ulgine Barrows picks up her "gibberish" in James Thurber's short story, "The Catbird Seat," from one of the greatest of all baseball announcers: Red Barber. Barber (a native...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2010 10:35 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Catbird Seat

Mr. Martin perceives Ulgine Barrows as a threat to his filing department and possibly a threat to his own job. He knows he has a reputation of being a very meek, conservative man with regular...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2012 2:38 am UTC

1 educator answer

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