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Analysis Of The Barber’s Choice In Lather And Nothing Else By Hernando Téllez

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In Lather and Nothing Else by Hernando Téllez, the barber has a choice of whether or not to kill the captain or to let him go. The barber makes the right choice because he wants to be known as the best barber in town not a murderer. The barber has a good reputation and does not want to risk ruining it. The barber was the enemy of the Captain and had many opportunities to kill him but he was an honourable man and he only had one job to do. He wanted to be known as the best barber in town. For example, “I was secretly a revolutionary, but at the same time I was a contentious barber, proud of the way I did my job.”

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The barber was proud of himself and proud of the name he built he did not want to risk his reputation as a diligent barber. He put his personal beliefs aside and knew he was only there to do his job. Since he was a rebel and against Captain Torres it was expected that he used any chance he got to eliminate the enemy. Although he knew it would be hard to let him go because he had the chance to kill the enemy. But killing was not a part of his job. The barber was unsure of what to do in the beginning because he could be seen as the murderer or the hero.

If he killed him there would be two sides and he would have to run and hide from one but on the other people would praise him. He thought, ‘“The murder of Captain Torres. He slit his throat while he was shaving him. What a cowardly thing to do!’ And others would say, ‘The avenger of our people. A name to remember.’” He didn’t want to be seen as a coward either. The decision was so hard because he did not want to let anyone down but also did not want to have to run and lose everything he had. He came so close and had so many chances of killing him and thought about what it would be like if he did. He thought, “there’s nothing more tender than a man’s skin, the blood is always there, ready to burst forth. A razor like this cannot fail. It is the best one can have.”

Killing Captain Torres would have meant saving his people. Everyone on his side will be grateful, but it wasn’t his job. In the end he knew he would not be able to kill because it was not the man he was. He wanted his clients to know he was a good man because he always did his best in his work. For example, “But I don’t want to be a murderer. No sir, you come to be shaved. And I do my work honorably. I don’t want to stain my hands with blood. Just with leather and nothing else… I am only a barber. Each one to his job”. The barber was only there to do his own job and the captain’s job was to kill his own enemy. He wanted to do a good job and wants to be known as the best barber anyone knew he did not want to stain his reputation with blood but just lather because that was his duty. The barber and Captain both had jobs to do and they knew that they could never do the others job because they are both difficult tasks. The Captain said, “they told me you would kill me. I came to find out if it was true. But it’s not easy to kill. I know what I’m talking about”.

In conclusion the barber made the right decision to let Captain Torres go alive. The barber would never be able to kill his enemy in his chair, nor anyone else. Anyone who went into the barbershop only wanted one thing and the barber only had one job. He knew it would not be right to kill because he wanted to be known as the best barbering town and as an honourable man.

14 May 2021

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