In "Just Lather, That's All," initially, Torres seems ignorant to the danger he is in. At the end of the story, he reveals otherwise. Why, then, does he go to have a shave when he knows he is...
In "Just Lather, That's All," initially, Torres seems ignorant to the danger he is in. At the end of the story, he reveals otherwise. Why, then, does he go to have a shave when he knows he is placing himself in danger?
It is important to not just note that Captain Torres is not only placing himself in a position of danger by having a shave from a barber he knows to be a rebel sympathiser, but that he also deliberately goads the barber by refering to the rebels he has captured and how they will be punished. When the barber asks him if the captured rebels will receive the same fate as the previous rebels, Torres responds:
I don't know yet. But we'll amuse ourselves.
Torres seems to be deliberately testing the barber, almost encouraging him to go ahead and kill him. Yet when his motives are considered, the fact that Torres willingly places himself in this situation seems to point towards various truths in his character that present him as quite a reckless and insanely brave individual who deliberately courts danger. What is fascinating about this story is the way that the reader's impression of Captain Torres completely changes with the last sentence, as it moves from viewing him as a bloodthirsty, cruel and malicious individual to seeing him as a brave (perhaps recklessly so) character who recognises what it is to take a human life. He seems to be a character who holds his own life at very little value, and is willing to risk it at any stage in order to prove something to himself and others. Torres therefore places himself in danger because he wishes to teach a lesson to the barber, that killing is much more difficult than it first appears.