James Thurber Writing Styles in The Catbird Seat

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Irony

The term "irony" refers to a difference between appearance and reality, between what might be expected and what actually happens. Often, as in Thurber's work, irony comes out of a grim sense of humor and to make a serious point.

It is ironic that Martin's well-established reputation as a timid, quiet man makes it possible for his outrageous plan to succeed. To his boss and coworkers, the thought of Martin drinking, smoking, and saying "I'll be coked to the gills when I bump that old buzzard off" seems ridiculous.

The central irony of the story is found in the title. It would appear to be Mrs. Barrows who sits "in the catbird seat." She has the ear of the president, she has mysterious feminine charms, and she has a strange language that Martin cannot under stand. Yet as the story plays out, her strength is what brings her...

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This section contains 775 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Catbird Seat Study Guide
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The Catbird Seat from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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