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Overall, the portrait that Greene puts together of T. is a rather despairing one. The opening reflects that T.'s own background is a challenging one, a condition that makes him susceptible to accepting the idea that leadership of the gang can help to rectify that which is wrong in his own life. When he is able to voice the plan and then give concrete direction to the idea of tearing down the house, it is a moment in which T. is able to assert some level of control of a life where control is absent. T. is able to develop a sense of direction and purpose to his being. His specific instructions and driving the gang while they tear down the house does not become one of spontaneous joy, but rather deliberate and meticulous planning. When Summers suggests that this is more like work than anything else, it reflects the driven nature of T.'s leadership. Greene shows him to be one who finds a sense of a "purpose- filled life" regarding what the tearing down of the house. When the plan runs into the unexpected of Mr. Thomas returning home, this driving purpose seems to wither away. Blackie resumes his leadership role, while T. sort of drifts away. Just as the narrative focus of the story moves towards Mr. Thomas and the gang as a whole, T. becomes absent. It is almost as if his own personality has returned back to the despair that was inescapable. His moment of order and purpose has been supplanted by a condition in which despair and a lack of control is evident.
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