What is the conflict of the story "The Destructors"?

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Margarete Abshire eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think the conflict here is not between T and Old Misery, or even between T and Blackie. What is truly at issue is brokenness and desolation of England after the war, as contrasted with the values of pre-war Britain. In a sense, T's ascendency to the group's leadership is the result of a need for constructive action. Even Blackie, who at first is bitter over T's rise, realizes that being part of the project to carefully demolish Old Misery's house is more important than his ego. In this sense, the conflict is between the boys and the society that cannot support them, or the difference between the reality in which they have to live, and the expectations that are put on them.

In another sense, the story describes how even the best qualities of people can be turned against themselves. The demolition of the house is a kind of triumph, both of T's leadership, of the teamwork of the boys, and of T's engineering and architectural knowledge. The fact that this work has been done in the service...

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