What is the central conflict in "Just Lather, That's All"?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The primary conflict in Hernando Tellez' short story, "Just Lather, That's All," deals with the barber's indecisiveness about whether he should kill Captain Torres. Torres is the hunter of Colombian rebels, a ruthless man who tortures and kills the men he captures. The barber turns out to be a rebel sympathizer--a spy who has kept his non-professional identity hidden. When Torres appears in the barber shop for a shave, the barber is faced with a decision: Does he give the man a shave, honoring the duty of his profession by carefully fulfilling the task without spilling a drop of blood; or does he cut the Captain's throat, ridding the rebels of their greatest adversary? In the end, the barber weighs his options and decides to give the man the shave to which he is entitled. Only as the man walks out of his shop does he realize that Torres suspects him of being a rebel, and that he has literally put his neck on the line to test the man's resolve.

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