How does the story, "Just Lather, That's All," show how humans can commit violent acts?  Can't figure it out for an essay that I have to compare and contrast with "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Captain Torres comes into the barber shop for a shave, he seems to be a simple law enforcement officer needing to rid himself of several days' growth of beard. But the reader is soon told of the atrocities he has committed: the torture and execution of the rebels he has been hunting. Torres matter-of-factly tells the barber that more executions will be held later that day, and to the captain, they are just part of the job. As the barber carefully shaves the captain's beard, he considers how easily it would be to cut his throat--ridding the rebels (of which the barber is secretly affiliated) of their greatest enemy. The captain, too, is waiting for the barber to give himself away--even at the risk of his own life. Neither of the men take action in the barber shop, though the floor could easily have been flowing with blood if either of the men had decided to do so. To the captain, killing the rebels--in any way he sees fit--is just part of his job. For the barber, it is not so simple: He is faithful to the code of his profession--to see that the captain receives a close and bloodless shave. In this way, the captain is not unlike Joe Summers in "The Lottery": Summers, too, has a job to do as the director of the lottery, and he does his job in a calculating yet professional manner knowing that his actions will cause blood to flow by the end of the day.

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Just Lather, That's All

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