Leslie Norris’ short story “Shaving” is a coming-of-age piece that stresses the need for a family to have a strong and responsible leader. In the short story Barry, the main character, is in a position where his father is dying and he has the responsibility of taking care of him. One day after school Barry comes home to shave his father because he is too sick to do it himself. Through this the reader is able to comprehend the idea that Barry is ready to take over his fathers spot in the family. Leslie Norris illustrates that Barry is ready to become patriarch of the family through direct characterization, contrast with weather and symbolism.
In “Shaving” Leslie Norris portrays that Barry is ready to become the leader of the family through direct characterization. Barry is mature and strong, yet his father is weak and now has to rely on Barry for everything. Norris begins implementing this message by describing Barry as how “He walked solidly now and often alone. He was tall, strongly made; his hands and feet were adult and heavy. The room in which all his life he’d grown had become to small for him” (Norris 1). This promotes the idea that Barry is not just mentally but physically ready to become patriarch of the family. He has grown up and is able to function without depending on someone such as his father. As the story progresses the reader then gets characteristics of “His father’s face was fine-skin and pallid carried a dark stubble of beard” (Norris 2) that needed to be shaved. The reader can infer that Barry’s father is weak and he is ready to let Barry take over his position in the family. This is justified when Barry’s father lets him shave his face. His father is letting go of himself and is relying on Barry to pick up where he is leaving off.
Leslie Norris uses contrast with weather to portray that Barry is ready to become the head of the family. Norris begins indicating this message when