The Will To Survive Essay

1036 words - 5 pages

When put in a situation where it comes down to one's own life or another person’s life, one will always do anything for their own survival. This could mean betraying others or even killing enemies just to ensure one's own survival. The protagonists in the short stories "Gregory" by Panos Ionnides and "Lather and Nothing Else" by Hernando Tellez are both faced with difficult situations where they must decide whether or not they want to save themselves by killing their enemies. However, the narrator who is a soldier in "Gregory" gets orders from headquarters to kill his prisoner whereas in "Lather and Nothing Else" the barber has a choice of whether or not he wants to kill his customer, ...view middle of the document...

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."(Téllez, 2). Clearly, the barber is debating whether or not to kill Captain Torres. For him, killing Captain Torres would be effortless, but in return he would be paying with his life. The barber is unable to kill his enemy even though he knows that Captain Torres is responsible for the deaths of many. Because of his natural instincts and the will to survive, he restrains himself from killing the person he hates most. In both short stories it is clear that when one is put in a life threatening situation they will instantly forget about others and focus on themselves surviving that particular situation.
Furthermore, although the soldier and barber make decisions that would ultimately result in their survival, the situations they are in are relatively different. In "Gregory" the soldier is an experienced killer who has specific orders from headquarters to fulfill. The soldier knows exactly what the headquarters want which is that "'As soon as Lieutenant Rafel's execution is announced, the hostage Gregory and his body must be hanged from a telegraph pole in the main street as an exemplary punishment.'"(Ionnides, 1). This shows that as soon as the narrator receives this news he is bestowed upon the honor of killing Gregory for his country. Despite the fact that the narrator and Gregory have become friends, his emotions are invalid as it is his duty as a soldier to do what he is told. Conversely, in "Lather and Nothing Else" the barber has a choice to make and is not ordered to kill his foe. When Captain Torres leaves the shop the barber thinks to himself, "Torres didn't know that I was his enemy. He didn’t know, nor did...

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