In "Just Lather, That's All," what does Captain Torres plan to do with the captured rebels who are still alive?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As the barber is shaving Captain Torres, Captain Torres tells the barber tantalising facts about the success of his recent excursion to capture rebels, whom the barber secretly supports. Captain Torres is described by the rebel as a "man of imagination" due to his creative ways of publicly executing rebels. Last time he used the bodies of the rebels for target practice in public, creating a chilling spectacle that everybody was forced to watch to try and dissuade any other rebel sympathisers from either joining or helping them. With the latest rebels he has caught, he clearly has similarly creative plans for how to dispose of them:

 I stopped the lathering and asked with a feigned lack of interest: "A firing squad?" "Something like that, but a little slower."

The way that Captain Torres responds with obvious relish and enjoyment suggests very strongly that the rebels are going to be slowly tortured in some horrible way rather than simply being killed quickly. Although the text does not specify exactly how the rebels will be killed, the suggestion makes their deaths all the more chilling, as it shows the enjoyment Torres extracts from such slaughter. This is of course something that is meant to provoke the barber, as the reader understands by the end of the tale.


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