The Destructors Questions and Answers
by Graham Greene

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Graham Greene gives an unusual ending to "The Destructors." Discuss in detail the effects of such an ending. 

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There is an emotional isolation that is present at the end of the story. The conclusion that Greene renders is one in which an emotional disconnect is evident everywhere.  Mr. Thomas has been locked in a bathroom.  He has not been brutalized, but he has been locked in a bathroom by the kids.  Mr. Thomas' house has been torn down to complete rubble and the reaction from the truck driver is to laugh at its gutted remains.  When Mr. Thomas admonishes him, the driver responds with that it is "nothing personal" and that the situation is "funny" to him.  The ending of Greene's story creates a world of emotional divergence.  No one really seems to understand anyone.  The kids don't understand the emotional impact of what they have done.  Mr. Thomas doesn't understand why no one seems to have an emotional response to what they are seeing.  The truck driver finds the destruction of one's hopes and property as completely filled with humor.  When the truck driver utters the words, "It's nothing personal," these words seem to summarize the emotional climate established at the end of the short story.  The real destructors seem to be all of the inhabitants where an emotional affect cannot be grasped or understood.  It is in this ending where the story is both unusual and thought provoking.

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