Study Guide

Martina Crowe in The Mysterious Benedict Society

By Trenton Lee Stewart

Martina Crowe

When you get right down to it, Martina Crowe is the scariest of the Executives. Jackson and Jillson are obedient and compliant, but they're not too bright. And S.Q.? He just might be the dimmest bulb in the bunch. But Martina? She's sharp—she knows exactly what Mr. Curtain is up to, and she's totally on board.

When she's promoted from Messenger to Executive, Mr. Curtain, as part of her training, offers her more details on the Improvement, and it's clear that she understands exactly what he's planning. While S.Q. is struggling to understand the meaning of it all, Martina says, with a smile and a sly tone,

"May I assume […] that these poor souls [who don't embrace the Improvement] would not only be unhappy—which is certainly tragic enough—but might also […] cause trouble? Am I right that brainsweeping will not only help them feel better, it will make them more manageable?" (31.37)

Now we don't know how Martina came to the Institute, and it's possible that she has a tragic backstory. Still, it's clear from the way she discusses the Improvement with Mr. Curtain that she's well aware of what's going on and happy to participate, which in our eyes, makes her less sympathetic than the other Executives and Messengers at the Institute.

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