Essay about Lather and Nothing Else

798 Words Sep 30th, 2011 4 Pages
Critical Essay on “Lather and Nothing Else”

It is difficult to decide which is the right decision to make when a situation presents itself. Normally, people carefully think over the consequences both positive and negative and we may believe that we have made the right choice although, others may not think so. The barber's choice in the short story, "Lather and Nothing Else" written by Hernando Tellez, is negotiable. He is secretly a member of the resistance that is fighting against the government. The conflict is introduced when Captain Torres, an executioner, walks into the barber’s shop to get shaved. That gives the barber an opportunity to kill him and become a hero. As the barber shaves him he contemplates every possible outcome of
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One of the reasons he chose not to kill the Captain was because he liked his job, and he seemed to be very proud and happy. Proof of this is the way he described it, ".. I am a good barber, the best in town..." (Tellez) and he did not want to jeopardize his reputation or leave his profession altogether. The barber would have to flee if he killed the Captain because he is aware of the negative consequences that would follow. Would he have been a hero if he'd killed him? In a way yes, the revolutionaries would win but only for a matter of time. The government would get another captain soon after and the barber would be executed before long. This proves that he chose the right path in that everyone else’s life would’ve continued on basically the same either way, except he would much rather keep his own life the same.

The barber wanted to keep a clean conscience. As stated at the end of the story, Captain Torres knows when he walks into the barber shop that he is about to face his foe and also that his foe knows about him, yet he still takes a chance and walks in almost

unafraid, and on top of all that, he spares the barber's life. If the Captain decided on killing the barber, not much would have changed in the Captain’s life. But by killing the Captain, the barber knows he would carry the responsibility forever, and be forced to leave behind his career just for one moment of anger. He would get punished, by the government or

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