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‘“The murderer of Captain Torres… The avenger of our people”’ (Tellez 4). To have one’s hands stained with blood and be a hero or to be what one actually is now, which would you rather chose to do? The character of “Lather and Nothing Else” by Hernando Tellez, ‘I,’ the barber is a dynamic character who has a clear change throughout the story by changing his mind with killing his enemy customer and learning what he should actually be at one moment.
In the beginning, the barber, the protagonist, starts out by a cruel revolutionary barber who struggles over an internal conflict if to kill his enemy customer not. In the scene where the barber struggles if he should carry out his plan to kill Torres, the barber mentions how his identity, human-being as a revolutionary or as a town barber could differ greatly: ‘“I am a revolutionary but not a murderer. And it would be so easy to kill him. He deserves it. Or does he?”’ (Tellez 3). This quote from barber’s internal conflict clearly shows the character’s opinion at the beginning of the story. In each moment of his thoughts, there are two completely different opinions taking place. Also, as he mentions his identity if he would be a murderer or a barber, readers could assume that the barber is flustered, struggling severely over 2 perspectives. Revolutionary murderer versus the enemy, or barber with a customer. Tiger versus lion or Crocodile and a Crocodile Bird.
By the end of the story, the barber ends his internal conflict by not killing Torres, and form a conclusion that he won’t be a murderer of mutilating enemy Torres, but a fine barber for customer Torres who wants his beard shaved. At the climax of his great internal conflict, the barber’s thoughts say, ‘“But I don’t want to be a murderer. No sir. You came in to be shaved. And I do my work honorably…Each one to his job”’ (Tellez 4). In the beginning, the barber struggled if he should be killing Torres or not with his internal conflict, and that internal conflict comes to a situation of climax. And as barber’s thoughts say, in the situation where Torres came to his shop as a customer, he decides to be a barber, not a murderer at this point. Each one does his job. Unlike what readers may have expected for a barber to do, to kill Torres since the barber himself decides to be a barber for customer Torres, the barber at the beginning planning to kill Torres is completely different from the barber at the end, facing his revolutionary enemy as a customer. This kind of internal confliction, where the protagonist faces its enemy as a friend also appears out in the story of “The Lion and The Mouse” from Aesop’s Fable story. Where lion might have eaten a mouse, lion lets the mouse go and where lion gets caught in the net by the hunter, mouse helps lion by gnawing off the rope of the net. Where lion and a mouse might be a hostile relationship, by facing each other as a life saver, the hostile relationship breaks out.
Such a dilemma where one should face its enemy as a customer or friend may stir up one to a chaos of identity, forcing one to be flustered. However, from one’s several identities, one should find the true ‘me’ that one should be in that particular situation. Us in our lives might once be a barber facing his enemy as a customer. Like what barber did, and what Hernando Tellez gives out to one, by carrying out rationality, one should either choose if to be a lion or a crocodile bird for tiger or a crocodile.