Something I like to do in my short fiction is place a stereotype or recognized cliche character in a radically different setting. Would you recognize Kurt Cobain if he was bagging your groceries? How would Conan the Barbarian feel if he was employed in a washing machine factory? What sort of presidential candidate would Odysseus have made? Would I vote for him? Would the rest of America? What if he was running against Hannibal Lecter?
Context can be very important to understanding a person. And yet, finding the keys to the locks that opens them up sometimes involves a change of scenery, to remove them from the setting that makes them so familiar. Give someone a haircut, clean up their speech, give them a new job, but have you really changed them? Would you even recognize them?
Is that a pulp hero who is taking your order? Could the woman ringing up your bill have been a Mata Hari or a Marlene Dietrich given half a chance? How do we know?