How does "The Destructors" show that destruction is a form of creation?  

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Destruction is a form of creation because when you destroy one thing, you create something else.  When Blackie's gang is destroyed, T's gang is created.

In this story, a gang of boys are reacting to the devastation and loss of World War II in an interesting way.  In a bombed-out lot, one house still stands.  An old man lives in the house alone.  When the old man goes away, the gang of boys decides to destroy his house, “like worms” in an apple. 

The leader of the gang, Blackie, is trying to hold onto his position of control by accepting the new boy, Trevor’s, suggestion to destroy the house.

It was the end of his leadership… Blackie was dimly aware of the fickleness of favour.

The destruction of Blackie’s gang was also the creation of T’s gang.  While Blackie’s gang did nothing but hang out and pinch rides, T’s gang destroyed the old man’s house.

The destruction caused by the war created the gang, and their destructive personality.  When the boys destroy the old man’s house, this to creates something—a homeless man.  Thus, you cannot destroy without creating.  Of course, you have to understand "create" as make something different (make something changed) instead of as make something good or new or beautiful.

Further Reading:
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Graham Greene's short story is a metaphor for the class struggles in Great Britain following WWII. Old Misery's marvelous home represents the last vestiges of upper-class English society while the Wormsley Common Gang represents the lower-class members who resent the aristocracy. Following WWII, tensions grew as Great Britain's political and social structure became fragile and the society began to change. In the same way Engish society was experiencing change as the elites began to lose power, the Wormsley Common Gang systematically begins to destroy Old Misery's home from the inside. Their destruction represents the fall of Great Britain's traditional state, which is essentially the beginning of Great Britain's new political system and society following WWII. Greene describes the gang's destructive process by writing,

"they worked with the seriousness of creators—and destruction after all is a form of creation" (8).

T., the gang's new leader, represents those who subscribe to nihilist views that Great Britain's political, social, and economic systems must be completely destroyed in order to be rebuilt. The destruction of Old Misery's home represents the advent of Great Britain's recreated post-war society.

Unlock This Answer Now