Just Lather, That's All

by Hernando Téllez

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What are three character traits for the barber in "Just Lather, That's All"?

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The barber in this excellent short story is a very interesting character. He is not presented as a "hero" in the traditional sense of the word, and yet it is clear that he is operating in secret as a rebel sympathiser against a brutal and uncompromising military regime, symbolised in Captain Torres. However, interestingly, what is emphasised again and again in his short narrative is the way he takes pride in his skill as a barber. Note what he says:

Under the stroke of my razor Torres was being rejuvenated--rejuvenated because I am a good barber, the best in the town, if I may say so.

Even though he is shaving the head of the military regime, the most brutal soldier of all, it is still important to him to do his job well. For a second characteristic, it is clear that the barber is timid. He begins to tremble when Captain Torres enters the room and his decision at the end of the narrative to just be a barber and not a murderer shows that he is keen to remain with what he is comfortable. Lastly, however timid he is, the story revolves around the fact that he is a rebel, and therefore opposed to the regime of Captain Torres. However, in spite of this, it is his decision to not be a murderer that shapes him as a character above anything else.

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