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In "The Destructors," how does Greene make the character T. memorable?

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wackyallyd | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM via web

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In "The Destructors," how does Greene make the character T. memorable?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:23 PM (Answer #1)

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With his grey eyes and head cast downward as he speaks, T. is an inscrutable boy; often, the others misjudge his intentions and are amazed at his perceptions and unique ideas that emerge from his "brooding silence."  Graham Greene writes,

What but an odd quality of danger, of the unpredictable, established him in the gang without any ignoble ceremony of initiation?

With his ideas, T. astonishes the others. For, rather than considering the mischievous acts of delinquent boys, T.'s destructive urges far surpass those of the others. Clearly, his intelligence is high; the architect's son speaks of the "opposite forces" of the staircase in the house of Old Misery, and tells the other boys of his "better idea" than merely stealing something from the house.  He has found a way to destroy the beautiful house from the inside. 

"We'd be like worms,...in an apple. When we came out again there'd be nothing there, no staircase, no panels, nothing but just walls, and then we'd make the walls fall down--somehow."

T.' s intriguing and challenging idea captivates the thrill-seeking natures of the other boys in the gang. And, the plans for this destruction from the inside out of Misery's house is a sophisticated, adult one. Moreover, it is an amoral one. For, when Blackie asks him, "You hate him a lot?" T. replies that he certainly does not; in fact, there would be no fun for him if he did hate Misery.

"All this love and hate ...it's soft, it's hooey. There's only things, Blackie."

Devoid of any motivating emotion, T. stands out as a character of the grotesque who has emerged after the horrors of war, a character far more dangerous and bizarre than those who commit juvenile vandalism. For critic John J. Stinson, the destruction of the house is ‘‘a parable-like comment on man’s inborn depravity and the primacy of evil in the world.’’

 

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