Why does Captain Torres tell the barber all about his plans for the rebels even though he suspects that the barber is a secret rebel ?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 Captain Torres knows that the barber is a member of the rebel group and has been warned that the barber will kill him if he goes in there. Torres seems to even invite the barber to kill him by bragging about the recent capture of a group of rebels and reminding the barber of the barbaric events of the week before. So why would Torres go to the barber shop? Part of the answer lies in understanding Latin American culture, especially during a period of violent, political unrest. Boys were raised to be macho, called "machismo" in Latin America. Even in the U.S., we have traditionally raised our boys to be tough and macho. In a sense, Torres is daring the barber to kill him to show the barber how macho he is. Torres knows that if the barber kills him, the barber will be caught and punished, but I don't think Torres has a death wish. He's willing to gamble his life that the barber won't be able to kill him. At the end, Torres says to the barber, "They told me that you'd kill me. I came to find out. But killing isn't easy. You can take my word for it." Torres seems to be saying the barber's inaction is cowardice and to throw it in his face. The barber has to take Torres' word that killing isn't easy because he was unable to kill Torres.

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Just Lather, That's All

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