“The Catbird Seat” Study Questions
1. What do we learn about Mr. Martin in the exposition of the story?
The reader learns Mr. Martin is a calculated and mild-mannered man, who has few vices, and has recently been driven to act out of his regular behavior by Mrs. Barrows. 2. Write a brief character description of Mr. Martin and of Mrs. Barrows.
Mr. Martin – Mr. Martin is a man of order and repetition. He follows a pattern, and he is successful in his work. He leaves little to fate. The only time he acts differently is the result of Mrs. Barrows.
Mrs. Barrows – Mrs. Barrows is loud and abrasive. She thinks in-the-moment, and does not follow typical order. She also seeks to change many of the ways F & S is run. She is almost an exact…show more content… ‘Are you lifting the oxcart out of the ditch? Are you tearing up the pea patch? Are you hollering down the rain barrel? Are you scraping around the bottom of the pickle barrel? Are you sitting in the catbird seat?’” (Thurber 368). Lastly, she operates in a way he does not understand. Being a man of repetition and habit, seeing a free spirit bothers him.
5. How would you classify the main conflict? (Man vs …) (Internal or External)
The conflict is Man vs. Man, and is Internal. The conflict is Mr. Martin and his feelings against Mrs. Barrows. It is Internal primarily, because most of the story is about his struggle with these feelings. He is not vocal about them, only keeping them to himself. Only in the end does he take any action. This can be seen on page 368, “The woman had appalled Mr. Martin instantly, but he hadn 't shown it” (Thurber 368).
6. Name some of the idioms in this story. How do you think the use of idioms enhances this story?
‘Are you lifting the oxcart out of the ditch?’, ‘Are you tearing up the pea patch?’, ‘Are you hollering down the rain barrel?’, ‘Are you scraping around the bottom of the pickle barrel?’, and ‘Are you sitting in the catbird seat?’ (Thurber 368). It helps give rise to the conflict, and helps to give a distinct picture of the difference between Mr. Martin and Mrs. Barrows, and why he dislikes her so much.
7. Based upon the definitions in your Literary Terms for this week, (Third Person Omniscient, Third Person