For what is Martin especially commended by his employer?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Erwin Martin is described as a "cautious, painstaking" man in the second paragraph of James Thurber's "The Catbird Seat." That is how everybody perceives him. He is well regarded by his employer Mr. Fitweiler, who once said "Man is fallible but Martin isn't." Towards the end of the story, Fitweiler tells Martin, "In that time [twenty-two years] your work and your--uh--manner have been exemplary." The whole point of the story is that Martin has built up such a reputation for being conservative, dependable, accurate, studious, dedicated, and quiet that Mr. Fitweiler cannot believe Ulgine Barrows when she bursts into his office and tells him how Martin behaved in her apartment the night before. Fitweiler thinks she must be crazy. He consults his psychiatrist Dr. Fitch, who, he tells Martin, "made enough generalizations to substantiate my suspicions." In Thurber's world everybody is a little crazy. Martin's boss is evidently being psychoanalyzed, and Ulgine Barrows seems crazy enough even before she explodes in Fitweiler's office and has to be forcibly removed by two men.

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