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Please answer the following about "Just Lather, That's All."1. “Lather and Nothing...

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lok | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 1, 2010 at 1:34 PM via web

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Please answer the following about "Just Lather, That's All."

1. “Lather and Nothing Else” – Find the sentence near the end of the story which contains the words of the title. This is the decisive moment, the climax. Reread that section, and then explain what the title phrase means. In your opinion, did the barber make the right decision? (1 page)

 

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted February 1, 2010 at 10:16 PM (Answer #1)

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In the short story "Just Lather, That's All" the barber is trying to keep it together when a man comes in who has been killing off the revolutionaries in horrid ways.  The barber has the opportunity to kill the man, but he doesn't do it.  The final statement indicates that he is not ready to cross over into the threshold of coming out as a revolutionary and that he wants peace in his job and nothing more.

Initially, I believed that the barber had made the right decision, but the more I had thought about it the more I realized that the barber already had blood on his hands in a way.  The reader is aware that the barber is a revolutionary and supports the cause.  Had he not, he would not have considered killing the Colonel.

The barber's life is going to change anyway because he is already recognized as a revolutionary and this is stated in the end by the Colonel.  Either way, he will have to go on the run.  When a person makes a commitment to change a government in the manner that the revolutionaries had, the person often has to engage in behaviors that are normally not the ones expected of them.

The barber's commitment to the revolution ran hot and cold.  He needed to make a decision of protecting his comrades or not being involved in the revolution at all.  He could have spared many people's deaths by killing the Colonel.  Although I am not an advocate for murder on a personal level, I think that the barber owed it to the revolutionaries to kill the man.  His inaction will result in his own death as well as many others at the hands of a cruel and merciless killer.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM (Answer #2)

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The title phrase in this story means that lather is all that the barber wants on his hands.  He does not want to become a murderer or, really, a rebel.  He only wants to be left to pursue his trade in peace.

Since I do not know how bad the government is in this story, or how bad the man is, I don't know for sure if the barber made the right decision.  I think, however, that he probably did.  The man had already suspected him and he had shared his suspicions with others.  If the barber had killed him, the barber himself, and probably many more in the village, would have been killed in revenge.

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