Why did Mr. Martin decide he had to "rub out" Ulgine Barrows?

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"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 "special assistant to the president of the firm, Mr. Fitweiler," where Martin was head of the filing department at F & S. Martin had loathed the woman from the moment he met her. She is loud, vulgar, and incompetent. In the short time she has been with the firm, she has created chaos in some of the departments--and now Martin knows instinctively that she has her eye on his beloved filing department. She obviously thinks it needs streamlining. She is thinking of throwing out a lot of the older files and selling the steel cabinets for scrap. Two comments that reveal her budding intentions are the following:

"Do you really need all these filing cabinets?"


"But you sure have got a lot of fine scrap in here!"

At present she has Mr. Fitweiler's complete confidence, support, and authority. This is why Martin...

(The entire section contains 587 words.)

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