In "The Destructors," what motives can you eliminate based on how the boys treat Old Misery and on what they do with the money?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When considering the gangs motives for wanting to completely destroy the house of Old Misery, the text makes it very clear that there is no hatred or anger that is behind these destructive tendencies. T. has no axe to grind with Mr. Thomas, and is quick to reassure Blackie that there is no emotion attached to his actions at all. Note what he says to Blackie when they burn the money they find in Old Misery's mattress. T. assures Blackie that they aren't "thieves" so they will not share the money around. Instead, he keeps them for a "celebration":

‘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,’ and he looked round the room crowded with the unfamiliar shadows of half things, broken things, former things.

T. therefore does not destroy Old Misery's house because of the motives that we and Blackie would suspect him of. He does it not to steal nor because he hates Old Misery. He does it because the destruction he is able to enact on this house parallels the destruction between what has happened in his own soul as he has grown up with the evidence of war all around and is completely detached from normal human emotions. Destruction is the only act of creation he knows. 


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The Destructors

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