Just Lather, That's All by Hernando Téllez

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Just Lather That's All Symbolism

In "Just Lather, That's All," what is a symbol that has been used?

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Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are several possible symbols in Hernando Tellez’s short story “Just Lather, That’s All.” The razor is an obvious possibility, given its significance in the narrative. Additionally, one could view the process of shaving itself as a symbol, a process meticulously described by the narrator, the barber, as he discusses the intricacies of preparing soap, sharpening the razor, applying the lather, and shaving his customer’s beard.

The customer in “Just Lather, That’s All,” of course, is Captain Torres, a notoriously brutal army officer responsible for innumerable human rights violations in the guerrilla war ravaging this fictional but realistic—certainly modeled on the author’s native Colombia—town. As the barber prepares for and shaves Captain Torres, he describes in minute detail the process of shaving, with obvious pride in his work. He is a professional. More than that, he is an artist, viewing every step of the process as though he is producing a work of art....

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