What is the significance of the name Trevor in 'The Destructors'?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It becomes very clear after reading this excellent short story that one of the central themes is the class system that assumes such importance in English society. Trevor is a name that clearly indicates this character is from the middle classes, and this is something that the working-class boys that make up the Wormsley Common Gang find laughable and ridiculous. Note how this is indicated in this second paragraph of the story:

There was every reason why T, as he was afterwards referred to, should have been an object of mockery--there was his name (and they substituted the initial because otherwise they had no excuse not to laugh at it), and the fact that his father, a former architect and present clerk, and "come down in the world" and that his mother considered herself better than the neighbours.

Trevor's real name therefore signifies the class that he comes from and the kind of upbringing that he has had. The way that the gang stands for the destruction of everything to do with the class system says a lot about Trevor's motives for joining the gang and his own frustration and anger at what he has experienced. Trevor's name therefore is very important in the story to introduce the theme of class and the way that it is so divisive in society. It is important to consider how the destruction of Old Misery's house, and various references to it throughout the story as standing up like a "top hat," play into this theme.

davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Trevor's name acts as a constant reminder of his family's previous status in society. They've come down in the world, forced to move to Wormsley Common for unexplained financial reasons. But although Trevor's effectively changed his class, his name still reflects his former life. It's a source of embarrassment, something that makes him a figure of fun to the rough young thugs of the Wormsley Common gang.

The only way for Trevor to break free from his social origins is to be accepted by the gang. And the only way for him to do that is by acting tougher and behaving more recklessly than the other boys. Appropriately enough, it's Trevor who first suggests destroying Mr. Thomas' home. In making this suggestion, he's not simply trying to fit in with the other boys; he's rejecting his social class and its values, most notably the importance of property. Trevor's decisive break with his erstwhile existence is taken a step further when he makes a public show of burning Mr. Thomas' life savings. In doing so, Trevor is showing his contempt for wealth and also publicly acknowledging his new-found status in life.