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”The Catbird Seat” by James Grover Thurber

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 467
  • Category: Books

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«The Catbird Seat», written by James Grover Thurber, is a humorous short story. It was written in New York in 1942 till the Second World War. Japan attacked land and USA helped European countries. A lot of men went to the front. So, many women had to start working as men. But the position of the women was not such strong. The author tells us in his work the story of women and men working together. The story is about Mr. Martin who had decided he must kill Mrs. Barrows because she was destroying the firm he worked for, but in the end he changed his plan, so, he tricked his boss into thinking she had had a mental breakdown. He won. The action took place in New York in the forties. All the action took place during few weeks. The main characters were office clerks. One of them was a new type of women – Mrs. Ulgine Barrows. Such women as she was, were aggressive, educated, tried to make a career. They wanted to get to the top. Numerous of descriptions of her appearance and behavior proved it.

The head of the company, Mr. Fitweiler, took her at work because she could bring something new to the company. So, it happened. She started global changes in all the departments. Mr. Martin believed his department will be next to have adjustments from Mrs. Barrows. He did not like her, he could not understand her behavior, she was unusual for him. Mr. Martin was the main character of the story. He is typical of what critics have called Thurber`s «little man», a common working man who is baffled and beaten down by life in US in the twenty century. He was known for his correctness: he had never drunk or smoked and he did everything on schedule. Of course, it is not surprising that Mrs. Barrows faced with misunderstanding from his side.

The plan for her elimination from the company was truly a genius. Mr. Martin decided to use his perfect reputation – «catbird seat» to rub her out. He was a good psychologist: he could to guess Barrows`s behavior. Of course, his plan worked. So, I think this story is about understanding and misunderstanding. If you can understand person you can really predict what person will do. And if you are unusual, as Mrs. Barrows was, you can face with misunderstanding. Earlier, I did not know about this author. Fortunately, we studied this book at school. So, I had to read it, but it was interesting for me. I really like this story because it was very interesting to watch how Martin will realize his plan and what he felt. So, I recommend it for all the people who like psychological short stories.

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