In "The Destructors," does the story have anything to say about the consequence of war?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Clearly this excellent short story, set in the aftermath of World War II in a blitzed London, has a lot to say about the consequences of war, and in particular, about the way in which war impacts on the children that endure it. War is shown to become such a psychological reality in individuals such as T. that their character is impacted and severely damaged as a result. Consider the following quote, which is taken from when T. burns Old Misery's money with Blackie:

"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..."

T.'s self-confessed lack of hatred for Old Misery and the way he disavows possessing any form of feeling whatsoever clearly indicates the massive disconnect that war has wrought within him. He is unable to experience and express emotion and is profoundly detached from such things. Greene wrote this story in part to discuss the impact that the war had on the young children who had lived through it, and in T. we have his rather disturbing portrayal of an individual who has grown up with such violence and fear that he has become deadened to "normal" human emotions. These are the consequences of war that are explored in this tale.


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