Does "The Destructors" portray a world without hope?   

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This story is rather bleak and unyielding in the way that it presents us with a world where morals of goodness, decency and respect are completely absent. Of course, the most profound example of this is in the character of T., who shows himself to be so completely detached from life that the only thing he can take any pleasure in is the act of destruction. Note how T. justifies his burning of Old Misery's savings:

"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. is presented therefore as a character who is completely detached. He neither hates nor loves and destroys without passion, anger or hatred. Greene therefore uses him as an example of the moral vacuum that he felt characterised British society following the Second World War. There is no hope in this short story.

chrisveeee | Student

Graham Greene’s story, The Destructors, is a short story about a group of kids whose actions show a world where respect, decency and morals seem to absent. It is set in a post war environment where World War II has left damage and there is chaos around with buildings crumbling from the bombs during the blitz. The setting very much portrays a world without much hope as society is struggling to recover, all seems lost and people seem to have very little optimism as many have lost family and friends in the war.

The gang is led by Trevor known as T. who creates a plan that involves destroying a house that survived the war where an old man, Thomas, known as Old Misery to the gang, lives.  I think this is a portrait of post war children who are showing very little humanity and a world with no humanity does not indicate hope. This lack of feelings especially empathy is very clear from the gang leader’s reply to the question referring to Old Misery; “You hate him a lot?” and T. replies;  “Of course I don’t hate him, T said, There’d be no fun if I hated him  ... All this hate and love,’ he said, ‘its soft, its hooey. There’s only things Blackie.” This is emphasised further on when it’s clear that the extremely unkind plan has worked out, the kids have destroyed the inside of the house and left the final structure demolition to a lorry driver, who finds the sight of the rubble very funny.

On the other hand you can choose to see some indirect signs of hope as you almost get the feeling that the desire to destroy “Old misery’s” house symbolises the desire to destroy the old, pre -war, England.  That could be seen as indirectly implying the wish to build a new post-war England which can be seen as hope.

Overall the story is dark and shows a world with no empathy and very little hope but the wish to destroy can be seen as an attempt to move away from the old England and implicit to rebuild the country.





ayeshabaig1998 | Student

the destructors were the one who wants to destroy all those this that were BEAUTIFUL because they had became feelingless. they can not see anyone prosper. if they had suffer so for them everyone also should.they were the destructor of feelings  and lives "BEAUTY".