This is a short story in which the act of destruction is of course intensely symbolic as it represents the way in which T. and the other members of the gang have become profoundly psychologically damaged as a result of growing up during the Second World War. One of the most profound examples of symbolism in this story is when T. finds Old Misery's money and chooses to burn it rather than steal it. The act of burning the money becomes a powerful symbol of T.'s extreme detachment from society and his withdrawal from the values of his day. Note what he says to Blackie when he is asked if he hates Old Misery:
"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.
The way in which T. burns the money and his speech afterwards is symbolic of the complete emotional disengagement as referenced to his description of "hate and love" as being "soft" and "hooey." The use of the burning of the money as a symbol thus allows Greene to explore the psychological impact of growing up during a war on children, and the chilling results it can produce.