The Catbird seat

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Psychological Perspectives In the story, “The Catbird Seat,” James Thurber portrays the reverse gender roles through which he creates the distance between Mrs. Barrows and the reader. Mrs. Ulgine Barrows is the special adviser of F & S, who is very outgoing and dominating. She is not a ‘nobody’, because everybody notices her. Mr. Fitweiler notices her in the party and concludes that she is capable of bringing the best out of the firm. She romps around the office, as Mr. Martin describes, a circus horse often shouting silly phrases like, “Are you sitting in the catbird seat?”(Thurber 81). She is extremely an extrovert, which bothers Mr. Martin. As a special adviser, she ousts many employees under the approval of Mr. Fitweiler. She wants to make F & S more efficient, and she is very dominating in doing so. Marilyn Underwood notices that Mrs.Barrows is like the bird sparrow, both in the name and behavior (Underwood 49). A sparrow settles in the nest of another bird and pecks away its foundations, thereby depriving the owner of shelter (Underwood 49). It is very quick and effective in doing so. Similarly, Mrs. Barrows settles in F & S and is trying to “peck away its foundations” by ousting its employers. Without her, the atmosphere at F & S is dull and “routinized to the point of absurdity” (Kaufman 9). But as soon as she stepped into the office, there is a change. It is very loud and lively. Mr. Martin is one of those in the office who could not tolerate change and thus finds her as a source of disturbance in his peaceful life. Mrs. Barrows behavior bothers Mr. Martin because he has totally opposite qualities. He is a melancholic personality type, who is very quiet, organized and seek revenge upon being disturbed. Unlike Mrs. Barrows, he is barely noticeable. When he bought a pack of camels “in the most crowded cigar store on Broadway”, the clerk
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