As human beings, it is inevitable to face moral dilemmas in life. When it comes to decision-making of a complex situation, individuals often consider their own values and consequences to their actions. Hernando Tellez’s “Lather and Nothing Else” and Edith Pargeter’s “The Purple Children” demonstrate the conflicts a person has with themselves when approached with a challenging situation which requires decision-making. The barber from “Lather and Nothing Else” and the sentry from “The Purple Children” demonstrate the importance of placing one’s own values as a priority when making a difficult choice because it will allow the individual to make peace with the outcome.
Individuals who give more worth to penalties that would put themselves at risk than those costs that do not affect them as much are more likely to be content with their decisions. For example, the temptation of murder that the Barber felt when shaving Captain Torres was overruled by the punishments that the Barber would have to encounter, “He wouldn't suffer. But what would I do with the body? Where would I hide it? I’d have to run, leaving all of this, take cover far, far away. But they would follow me until they ran into me. ‘Captain Torres' murderer. He cut his throat while he was shaving him. What a coward’” (Tellez). This establishes an in-depth moral dilemma that the barber encounters when deciding to give in to his temptations or to stick to his values as a person. This conflict represents the “flood” archetype which signifies the idea of justice and the concept of consequences to the decision the character makes. The barber is aware of the penalties he would face if he murders Captain Torres which demonstrates that the Barber is giving more worth to the setbacks he would come across that jeopardizes himself rather than benefiting him. On the contrary, the sentry takes a different approach by justifying his actions to help the girl get her cat while jeopardizing himself:
“The boy felt the small, cold hand laid entreatingly upon his arm. She was only a kid, she hardly came up to his shoulder, and she was beginning to sniff ominously. He couldn’t see any harm in it. He had orders to treat the natives politely and considerately, as long as they weren’t making trouble, and what trouble could this waif make? ‘I can’t! I should get into trouble if anybody found out.’” (Pargeter 135).
This establishes comprehensive insight to the person versus self conflict that the sentry faces. This is illustrated through the “flood” archetype and imagery. The concept of justice and consequences to the characters decisions is relevant to the sentry’s character, which is similar to the barber’s struggle. The sentry acknowledges the consequences of letting the girl go past the gate, which endangers him. Unlike the barber, the sentry gives more importance to the justification of giving the girl permission go past the gate despite his duties. The sentry does not give enough value to the penalties he...