Why does the author present the destruction of Old Misery`s house as both vandalism and a work of creation?

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

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Graham Greene presents an interesting paradox in his story "The Destructors"-- destruction and vandalism as a form of creation.  The gang's flipped sense of values relates back to the Postmodern viewpoint of questioning everything traditional.  The same values which brought about the quiet dignity of Mr. Thomas' great old house also resulted in the destruction of World War II. 

The boys' carefully planned vandalism of the old building becomes an extended metaphor for a much deeper resentment of the old ways and traditional class structure.  In the eyes of the Wormsley Common gang, the boys are creating something magnificent--their own loyalty to each other and sense of pride in a job well done.  For them, the destruction of Old Misery's house is a crowning achievement.

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