“Lather and Nothing Else” Lesson Plan with Summary and Analysis

He came in without a word. I was stropping my best lesson. And when I recognized him, I started to shake. But he did not notice. To cover my nervousness, I went on teaching the lesson. I tried calling on students with the tip of my thumb and asked another question.

Meanwhile he was taking off his cartridge-studded belt with the red pen holster suspended from it.  Then he turned full around toward me and, loosening his tie, remarked, “It’s boring as the devil, I want a better lesson.”

If only I had this “Lather and Nothing Else” analysis lesson plan, I could have kept my job.

"Lather and Nothing Else" Lesson Plans

Avoid a close shave with your next lesson. Check out these “Lather and Nothing Else” lesson plans.

You probably came here for a “Lather and Nothing Else” lesson plan and are now wondering what to do. After all, you just got started reading this awesome post. Here’s a “Lather and Nothing Else” Summary, “Lather and Nothing Else” analysis, and ELA standards for the “Lather and Nothing Else” lesson plan that you’ve hopefully already downloaded.

“Lather and Nothing Else” Summary

The entire story takes place in a barber shop, more specifically, it takes place in the mind of the barber. Captain Torres has come into the shop, looking for a shave after four days of rounding up and killing insurgents in the Colombian Civil War. The barber is not on the same side as Captain Torres and struggles with what to do.

He debates whether to cut the captain’s throat. He debates the merits of doing so and the potential consequences. He worries about what his comrades would say, knowing he had the brutal captain under his blade. He contemplates whether killing the captain would make him a hero or a murderer. He thinks about what killing the captain would do for his work, a work he takes great pride in doing.

He decides not to kill the captain, who divulges that he knows exactly who the barber is and knew he wouldn’t have the nerve to kill.

“Lather and Nothing Else” Analysis Ideas

An analysis of “Lather and Nothing Else” produces the following discussion topics and observations:

  • Irony – It’s ironic that the captain requests a shave from the enemy barber. The reader knows exactly what the barber is thinking, and it appears the captain is clueless as he brags about the murders of the barber’s comrade. Of course, the ultimate irony is played on the reader and the barber. The Captain knows everything the whole time.
  • Theme – How do real people react during crisis? This very short story examines the inner conflict that real people undergo in tense situations. This war is fought within the narrator’s mind, inside of a mundane place.
  • Conflict – There’s the outer conflict of Captain Torres and the rebels and between Captain Torres and the barber. The central conflict, though, takes place inside the mind of the narrator who debates what to do to the enemy under his blade.
  • Suspense. Pacing dictates the tension in this story. Detailed descriptions of the captain’s throat add to the suspense.
  • Stream of Consciousness. The story takes place inside the mind of the barber, fertile ground for Stream of Consciousness.

ELA Standards

If you haven’t downloaded the lesson plan yet, you best do it now.

  • Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.




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