Discuss the tone and irony In The Destructors by Graham Greene. Write two paragraphs for each. 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the strongest points to Greene's short story is its tone.  If we define tone as the attitude an author details towards its subject, I think that we can see clearly that the tone of Greene's story is one in which there is a sense of uncertainty and deconstruction in a setting that once had stability and a sense of absolutist direction.  The hollowed out cavern that London is from what it used to be is the setting that helps to convey this tone.  The fact that the boys really seek to engage in destructive elements in the midst of the absolute horrors of war is also a part of the narrative that helps to convey the tone.  There is a lack of construction that the tone conveys in both the physical condition of the setting, but also in the emotional configuration of the people in it.  T. and the boys only destroy.  There is no creation.  They only tear down.  Even this is something that cannot be finished as it is interrupted by Mr. Thomas' return.  The truck driver does not share the sense of Mr. Thomas' horror at the gutted remains of the home.  He indicates that it's "nothing personal" but rather "funny."  This helps to bring out a tone that shows there is a reality that is steeped in deconstruction and a lack of totality.  The values and structures that used to guide human action in England are gone.  In their place is an unknown where only destruction is evident.  Indeed, the lorry driver's words ring true:  "It's nothing personal."  As Mr. Thomas and the reader discover through Greene's tone, there is nothing personal left in this setting.

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The Destructors

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