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The moral lesson of the story is that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
The boys in the story act like typical teenagers. They are destructive because they can be. If you ask a teenager why they do something, half the time they really won’t be able to give you an answer. They did it because they did it. The fact that destroying the house was morally wrong did not mean anything, because they were not thinking when they did it.
When T suggests that they destroy the house, they seem confused at first.
T. raised his eyes, as gray and disturbed as the drab August day. “We’ll pull it down,” he said. “We’ll destroy it.”
In the end, they do it to see if they can. Of course, they can destroy the house. Ironically, it was rebuilt by Old Misery piece by piece, and destroyed by the gang of boys piece by piece.
When the house falls down at the end, the driver just laughs.
“I’m sorry. I can’t help it, Mr. Thomas. There’s nothing personal, but you got to admit it’s funny.”
He finds it funny because it is ironic. They do not know what happened. They are completely shocked, and none more than Mr. Thomas, whose “crippled house” was rebuilt and then destroyed in the blink of an eye for no apparent reason.
The need to fit in is paramount in the human experience, and at no time more than during the teenage years. The things we do to be accepted sometimes defy explanation. However, just because you can do something does not mean you should.
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