The Destructors

Rite of passage for the destructors.

  1. Object of desire: the destroying of the house. “Old misery’s going to be away all tomorrow and Bank Holiday” “we’ll destroy it”
  2. Trespassing: when they break into the house and when T defies Blackie. “I have a better idea”
  3. Dare: when they accept T as the leader and want to destroy the house.
  4. The mischief: they didn’t realize that what they were doing was wrong. “You got to admit it’s funny.”
  5. Atonement: there is no regret or confession. “It was my house, my house”.

 

Themes:

 

 

  • The individual affected by social crisis

 

what’s a hacksaw”

 

  • The evil nature of man

 

“It’s a bribe”

 

  • The aftermath of war: how destruction leads to more destruction

 

“Destruction after all is a form creation”

 

  • Loss of compassion

 

“There’s nothing personal, but you got to admit it’s funny”

 

  • Class struggle

 

“Considered herself better than the neighbours”

 

  • Destruction for sake of destruction

 

“We’ll put it down”

 

Metaphor: This metaphor is about the war. As it cost a lot of money to it, is a big waste of money.

Symbols:

  • Old Misery: This name is ironic as Mr. Thomas is not actually miserable, but the rest of society is. In fact he is the only one who was not in misery.
  • The driver of the truck: When he laughed at Old Misery, he represented philosophy of nihilism, as he showed the lack of morale.

Questions

  1. Describe what happens in the resolution of the story. Why might Graham Greene have ended the story in this manner?

At the end of the story, the gang destroys Old Misery’s house, with the help  of a man who had no idea of what was going on, and when he realised what was happening didn’t care and actually found it fun. The author might have ended the story this way to show how it is that society was influenced by war, people no longer cared of others, they were going through an egocentric phase of life.

  1. On the surface this is a story of action, suspense, and adventure. At a deeper level it is about delinquency, war, and the hidden forces which motivate our actions. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.

This story is a clear reflection of delinquency, war and the hidden forces which motivate our actions as we can see how a group  of kids are trespassing the law, as a result of war. This is because war destroyed society, and vandalism and delinquency. We can also see how T was willing to destroy a innocent man’s house, just to obtain power.

  1. Does the destruction of Old Misery’s house by the boys seem more senseless than the destruction brought about by the war that had destroyed London—or do you see it differently? Explain in a paragraph.

In my eyes, the destruction of Mr.Thomas’s house is more senseless than the destruction of war. This is for several reasons; for example the house was the last standing peace of housing after war. Moreover, the destruction of the house had no real reasons other than having fun, and T showing Blackie his leadership and power over the gang.

  1. Research a definition of the philosophy of nihilism. How might the Wormsley Common Gang actions in the story demonstrate a kind of nihilism?

The definition of nihilism is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless. This is portrayed by the Wormsley Common Gang, as they show no morale in their actions, going after an innocent man’s house, and using another innocent man without his knowledge.

  1. Research and compare the Wormsley Common Gang with modern American gangs. Consider factors like membership, recruitment, enemies, activities and motivations. What similarities did you find? What are some differences?

Gangs nowadays are very similar from the ones in “The Destructors”.

At first, all the gangs have many members (there are gangs from different ages) and everyone has at least one leader. In the case of the destructors is Blackie. The other people in the gang follow the leader that takes all the important decisions.

To become a part of a gang, the recruit have to do some illegal activities, to prove the loyalty to their crew. It can be: stole something, paint in walls, break things from the street, etc. In the story happened, but is impossible that a new recruit could challenge the leader. As the reader can see in the story when T said: “I have a better idea”. Also, they have different enemies, while the modern gangs fight against other gangs, for territory and more respect, the gang in The Destructors didn’t have a formal enemy.

Finally, their motivations and activities are practically the same. Both make a lot of destruction and illegal things and always their motivations are from their living conditions and how their surroundings are (a lot of caos). In the Destructors, they are in a post war situation, and in the modern gangs, they live in affected areas where there are a lot of insecurity and danger.

  1. Of what significance is the setting of this story in blitzed London? Does the story have anything to say about the consequences of war? About the causes of war?

The setting in blitzed London is essential for all the plot in the story. The after war scenery creates the perfect moment for the creation of the gang. All their extreme ideas and a love for destruction, is very ironic in a chaotic place, as London after the war. It’s very difficult  that the ideas could appear in another scenario that is not a chaotic one.

  1. Address the following quotation in the story by explaining its context and overall significance to the story:

“Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators—and destruction after all is a form of creation. A kind of imagination had seen this house as it had now become.”

This quotation is refering the post war situation, and the ridiculousness of war itself. The quote is very ironic, as it shows the hard work of human people, to build whole cities, to destruct them in a short and fast time. It’s very ironic the the people make the same mistakes throughout our history, and we can’t learn about them, to prevent how to stop before happens.

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