Just Lather That's All Character Analysis

What character qualities do the barber and Captain Torres have in the short story "Just Lather, That's All"?

I need it for a character analysis and need examples of how that quality is shown.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though Captain Torres and the barber are mortal enemies in the Hernando Tellez short story, "Just Lather, That's All," they both have similar character traits.

Both are very serious about their professions. Torres has just spent four days hunting down rebels, and after he finishes his shave, he will execute them for the whole town to see. He risks his life daily by faithfully (though cruelly) ridding the town of his enemies. Though the barber can kill Torres at any moment with a stroke of his razor, he is a slave to the barber's code to never spill a drop of the customer's blood. Torres has come to pay for a shave, and that is what he will receive--just lather, that's all.

Similarly, they are both politically motivated, though on opposite sides. They are both relatively quiet men, for they only speak of matters at hand, with none of the usual small talk found between barber and client. They are both secretive: Each holds a special bond with one another that Torres breaks in the end.

Perhaps, above all, they both find that "killing isn't easy." 

On the other hand, the barber trembles, sweats and feels pale as he shaves his enemy. He does not have the courage to kill the man who has murdered so many of his friends because he is afraid of the outcome.

...But what would I do with the body? Where would I hide it? I would have to flee, leaving all I have behind, and take refuge far away, far, far away. But they would follow until they found me. "Captain Torres' murder. He slit his throat while he was shaving him. A coward."

Torres' death would make the barber a hero, a martyr, but he doesn't have the inclination to die just yet.

The ruthless Torres shows courage throughout. His face is the most visible in the town, but he appears in public without regard for his own safety--an easy target for an assassin's bullet. He sitsquietly and shuts his eyes, allowing the barber to expose his secret. Torres is ready to sacrifice himself to expose one more rebel, but the barber refuses to take the bait.

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Just Lather, That's All," the Barber is a very conscientious man who shows a clear dedication to his profession. Even though the Captain is his enemy, for example, he takes care to give him a proper shave. In addition, he is also very proud of his reputation as being a "good barber" and this is one of the reasons why he chooses to not murder the Captain. He is, therefore, more concerned with being good at his job than becoming a hero to the rebels.

We can also describe the Barber as being a secretive type of person. Nobody knows, for instance, that he is a member of the resistance and that he routinely provides information to the rebels.

In contrast, the Captain can be described as a violent person. When he arrives at the shop, for example, he tells the Barber that he has recently caught 14 rebels and that he will soon find and kill the remaining ones.

The Captain is also a very brave person. At the end of the story, for instance, the Captain reveals that he knew about the Barber's plan to kill him. The fact that he went to the shop anyway, knowing that his life was in danger, provides clear evidence of his courage and bravery.

user6683822 | Student

why does the story end that short....

gooz123 | Student

woot

 

shotimoti1 | Student

lol loser

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Just Lather, That's All

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