The Destructors – Literary Analysis
Graham Greene’s portrayal of human nature, as seen in his 1954′s literary piece The Destructors, conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. This message is clearly projected by the characters and their actions, guided by the invisible hand that is one of the central themes of the short story: those children born to a traumatized society will grow rebellious.
Set in the post-World War II London, England, Greene uses a gang of pre-teen boys, who fancy calling themselves the Wormsley Common gang, as the medium for presenting this idea. He illustrates, above all else, that people’s actions are greatly determined by their surroundings. Because of their destroyed setting, it becomes normal for them to be destructive themselves.
Experiencing first hand the havoc inflicted by the war, Greene’s characters follow the only
. . .
Greene’s use of paradox in the story is evident through T’s behavior toward Mr.
Even the grown-up gangs who ran the betting at the all-in wrestling and the barrow-boys would hear with respect of how Old Misery’s house had been destroyed. The gang of boys symbolize the new generation, sons of the war who want to bitterly disassociate themselves from anything former. They have no justification or rationale for doing so, solely focusing on and being satisfied with the promise of becoming something that will be forever remembered. Of course I don’t hate him, T said. The boys in The Destructors are still youthful enough to keep their innocence, yet they become cruel and selfish in their decisions.
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.
As the house eventually comes toppling down, so does the boys’ last symbol of oppression; the demise of everything that they, as the new society, can no longer have.
Another prevailing theme of Greene’s The Destructors, is one that is identified easily while in the boys? Mind-set: that destruction is a form of creation. Even though T schemes to destroy his home, occasionally treats the old man with disrespect and regards him (and his gifts) with suspicion, he still does not hate him. As only the boys understand, creation can be achieved through destruction, thus creating something beautiful and recycling the original beauty of the old house.
You hate him a lot?? Blackie asked. The meaning behind this destruction/creation is made most effective largely because of the detailed characterization of T (Trevor), a boy who has ascended the social ladder in life.
It is determined that T’s motives are not based on personal grounds, but that they merely include the desire to rid himself of the last remnant of the old generation and previous lifestyle.
The youth no longer feels connected to the past due to socialites undergoing change, yet they strangely emphasize this disconnection civilly.