Why does the author keep the name of the barber and the setting unknown?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the reason to do this is to make the story seem more universal and less tied to any one particular place.

If you look at this story, all you really know is that it probably takes place somewhere where the people speak Spanish.  We know this because the captain's name is Torres.  Outside of that, it could be anywhere.

When a story is set in some place, it makes it harder to identify with the characters.  It becomes a story from that place and if you don't live there, you might think it has nothing to do with your life.

But by making it more anonymous and placeless, the author makes it feel like it could be anywhere and so we should all pay attention to its message.

mkcapen1 | Student
I believe that the name of the barber in the story "Just lather, That's All" is irrelevant to the outcome of the story. By not giving the reader the barber's name the reader focuses on the barber's words, thoughts, and actions in the story instead of him as a person. The barber is a vague person but his intense feelings and concerns build the story. The reader looks at the barber’s profession, his transgressions, and his difficulty making a decision that he is struggling to make. The barber is nameless because he could be any man in the town but it is important that the reader is aware that as a barber he has the ability to have the man at his mercy as he shaves him with the straight razor.
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Just Lather, That's All

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