The Catbird Seat: a Fraudulent Character – Who Is Mr. Martin Really?

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A Fraudulent Character – Who is Mr. Martin Really? Has anyone ever turned out to be exactly who they first appeared to be? In James Thurber’s “The Catbird Seat” the protagonist, Mr. Martin, first appears to be a flawless worker. His boss, Mr. Fitweiler, even proclaims that “Man is fallible but Mr. Martin isn’t” (18) because of Mr. Martin’s reputation of being an proficient and efficient worker. Also, it is a known fact that Mr. Martin never smokes or drinks and he is praised for it, “The late Sam Schlosser, the S in F&S, had praised Mr. Martin at a staff meeting . . . ‘Our most efficient worker neither drinks nor smokes . . . The results speak for themselves” (20). His timidity is emphasized by his daily routines during work and after, “He got there [Schrafft’s Diner], as he always did, at eight o’clock. He finished his dinner and the financial page of the Sun at a quarter to nine, as he always did” (20). Mr. Martin follows a strict routine, like drinking his glass of milk every night, and seems to be a tame person who keeps to his own business. If Mr. Martin is as soft a character as he appears, why does he plan to murder Mrs. Barrows? As we get farther along in the story we can see Mr. Martin is not as flawless as he first appears. Though he seems error free, there is evidence to believe Mr. Martin is not as efficient as he seems. Throughout the story are fine details underlining his inefficiency, “He polished his glasses more often and once sharpened an already sharp pencil” (20). Mr. Martin’s constant musings are a tribute to his wandering mind, if he was as good of a worker as he is proclaimed to be he would stay more focused at work. His indifferent work effort was Mrs. Barrows cue to come and investigate his department. The first day she comes and investigates his office, she notices the unnecessarily large amount of filing cabinets he has packed
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