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Evaluate themes of Graham Greene's "The Destructors."

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vinish | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted February 13, 2013 at 6:49 AM via web

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Evaluate themes of Graham Greene's "The Destructors."

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:33 PM (Answer #1)

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Graham Greene's short story "The Destructors" utilizes the contrast between Old Misery's house and the Wormsley Common gang to depict the theme of Old England versus the new up-and-coming, post-war generation.  With salient details concerning the richness of the architecture like the spiral staircase and imagery that compared the house to a gentleman's top hat, Greene constructs a metaphor for Mr. Thomas' house representing the old, wealthy upper class society of the pre-World War II era; meanwhile, the boys in the "Wormsley Common gang" are exactly what their name suggests--common boys, the lower class. 

By the end of the story as Mr. Thomas' house collapses ruinously to the ground, Greene suggests that the former division between upper and lower class have shattered as a result of the shared hardship of post-war England; the boys' defiant act resonates as a rebellious step toward ending the social hierarchy.

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nayyaralovesatifaslam | Student , Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:51 PM (Answer #2)

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I think that there are two main themes in the story, "The Destructors", which are "Loss Of Innocence" and "Destruction Is Senseless".

Loss Of Innocence:

This theme is developed by the boys of the Wormsley Common Gang. It is easily perceivable that the boys have lost their innocence. We can say this becasue in the story we get to know how destructive they are. Their plans are not innocent or childish. They may appear young children, naive adolescents, but they actually are not just 9-15 years old boys. They are now "The Destructors". They like to destroy the stuff around them, finish all signs of happiness and they want to make sure that not a single beam of hope remains in their society. So it shows that they have lost their innocence, becasue children of their age cannot think this far, this wide, and this negative!

Secondly the boys were also desensitized. They had lost feelings and emotions. They neither loved anyone nor hated anyone, and they expected the same from others. We find a strong evidence for this in the story when Trevor says;

“All this hate and love,” he said, “it’s soft, it’s hooey. There’s only things, Blackie.”

Destruction Is Senseless:

The Destruction in the story, can be referred to as "senesless". The war, would have been fought for a reason. There would be problems and issues behind it, and it would have been fought to either resolve those issues or to take revenge. But the destruction by the boys seems completely senseless.They had no reason, purpose or motive behind that destruction. And even if they had, it was negligible. They did not have any valid reason for that destruction.

“You hate him a lot?” Blackie asked. 

“Of course I don’t hate him,” T. said. “There’d be no fun if I hated him.”

The last burning note illuminated his brooding face.

“All this hate and love,” he said, “it’s soft, it’s hooey. There’s only things, Blackie.”

So this tells that they did not have any strong reason or grudge against Mr Thomas. The reason why they wanted to destroy the house still remains a  mystery for me, but we know for sure that it was an aftermath of the war-an adverse and negative consequence of the war. Destruction was all that the boys learnt from living in that  society.

P.S. If you find any error in my answer, or if anything is wrong or incomprehensive, kindly consult your teacher/tutor, because after all i myself am a student like you :)

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