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Life And Death: Suspense In Just Lather, That’s All

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Imagine being able to control the life of someone with a razor, just a bit more pressure on the razor and another life will end. Suspenseful scenarios like such are often created by skilled authors, like the one that is created by Hernando Tellez in the riveting short story “Just Lather, That’s All”. Therefore, it is undeniable that suspense techniques are used effectively in the short story “Just Lather, That’s All” by Hernando Tellez because they develop plot and characters within the story.

First, Hernando Tellez uses suspense in order to advance the plot, grabbing the attention of the readers with its conflicts. One example of this is when the narrator struggles to decide on whether or not he should kill Captain Torres, stating “Yes, I was secretly a rebel, but I was also a conscientious barber, and proud of the preciseness of my profession” (Tellez 2). By revealing the narrator’s thoughts, Hernando Tellez successfully portrays person vs self conflict as the narrator decides if he should kill Captain Torres. The readers get engaged in the story as they are eager to find out what will happen next, their curiosity compels them to keep reading. By revealing the way that the narrator considers himself a “conscientious barber”, Hernando Tellez successfully foreshadows the outcome of the conflict because the narrator has a strong motivation for not killing Captain Torres (2).

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Next, Hernando Tellez effectively uses the delay of information as a suspense technique in order to develop characters within the story. For example, as Captain Torres is leaving, he tells the narrator, “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” (4). For almost the entirety of the story, Captain Torres is described as a cruel “executioner”, a fearsome man who hunts down the rebels and executes them for entertainment (3).

Then, at the end, by saying “killing isn’t easy”, it shows that Captain Torres feels guilty for all the people that he has killed and it shows that there is still conscience in him (4). This makes Captain Torres a round and dynamic character because multiple character traits of him are revealed and he changes dramatically throughout the story.

In conclusion, it is truly indisputable that Hernando Tellez uses suspense effectively in the short story “Just Lather, That’s All”, by engaging the readers with the conflicts and adding colour to the characters. With its surprise twist ending and the cliffhanger at the end, it truly is a memorable story as the readers are left wondering what the fate will be for the narrator.

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Life And Death: Suspense In Just Lather, That’s All. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“Life And Death: Suspense In Just Lather, That’s All.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Life And Death: Suspense In Just Lather, That’s All. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Mar. 2024].
Life And Death: Suspense In Just Lather, That’s All [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from:
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