David's Haircut by Ken Elkes Summary

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

In this lesson, we'll take a close look at 'David's Haircut' by Ken Elkes. Follow along as we explore the plot and unpack some of the subtleties that are easily missed.

Growing Up

If you ever remember thinking about how badly you wanted to grow up, you will understand some of what David experiences in David's Haircut by Ken Elkes. Let's follow along and observe as David longs to be a big kid while he gets a haircut.

The Barber Shop

This story opens in a powerful way. Right from the first sentence, we know that the story is about a young boy. The narrator tells us that when David steps out of his house the sun is so overwhelming that he takes his father's hand for comfort. David and his father hold hands as they head to the barber shop together. Getting a haircut is a tradition between the two. David reflects on how sometimes his dad will joke and chase him around with scissors saying that he is going to cut his hair and maybe accidentally his ear. Our narrator explains that ''David loves the barber shop.'' The stairs are worn and the posters are old, but it's the shop he has always come to.

Soon Enough

David observes the setting of his upcoming haircut. Some of the items he sees are ''shaving mugs, scissors, cut throat razors, hair brushes and, stacked neatly in a pyramid, 10 bright red tubs of Brylcreem,'' basically, the typical items found in an old-timey barber shop. Mr Samuels smokes as he cuts hair, and eventually, it is David's turn. When he clambers into the chair, Mr Samuels puts a block for him to sit on so he doesn't have to ''stoop'' over. The barber points out that soon David might not need the box. This excites David, but his father doesn't seem to care as he pours over his newspaper and comments that the barber will probably charge him more when that happens. Mr Samuels jokes saying, ''at least double the price.''

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