I need help writing a character sketch about the barber in "Just Lather, That's All".

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blacksheepunite eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A character sketch talks about the type of person a character is. The barber in "Just Lather" is a man with a conscience. At work he does his job well, and is proud of the fact that he has never cut any one doing it. He is a revolutionary, which is to say that he is part of the resistance. However, he doesn't want to kill anyone, so his job is to spy. He gets information and gives it to his fellow revolutionaries. In this story, he has a major problem. His enemy comes into his shop looking for a shave. He has to decide whether to shave him or kill him. Through the entire story he deliberates, and tries to decide what to do. In the end, he gives the man a close shave and lets him walk away. he doesn't even nick him as he shaves him. He says it is because he doesn't want blood on his hands--just lather. He also says that if he were to kill Torres (his enemy who is sitting in his chair at the barber shop), he would become just like him. He would be a murderer, and he says he is not a murderer. The barber gives all kinds of good reasons for not killing Torres--it's not his job, he would compromise his position as spy, he would become as evil as the thing he is against, etc.

What is mostly debated about his character is whether he is brave (because he acts with integrity and does what he believes is right) or a coward (because he has the enemy of his people in a vulnerable position and refuses to kill him). You have to decide, when you write this, whether you think his actions are honourable, or not.

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Just Lather, That's All

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