What are some parallels between Lord of the Flies adn Graham Greene's short story "The Destructors"?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Parallels between Graham Greene's "The Detructors" and Lord of the Flies"

Destruction as a form of creation theme:

The theme of destruction is prevalent in both works; the Wormsley Common Gang actively works at destroying Old Misery's house.  Under T's direction and influence, the boys work as a forceful unit to raze the house.  Similarly, the hunters under Jack's leadership also become a destructive powerful force, working as a unit to capture and kill pigs and then ultimately sweeping the island to capture and destroy Ralph. 

Challenge of power and authority theme

Greene and Golding's works both address the theme of power and authority and similarly examine the resulting chaos of when that authority and power is challenged.  Similarly, both works address the theme of power on multiple levels.  In "The Destructors," the boys challenge adult authority by planning to tear down Old Misery's house.  At the same time, the boys challenge T's authority as leader of the gang throughout the process.  Lord of the Flies also focuses on multiple levels and meanings of power and authority.  At the very beginning, the boys are glad to be free from civilization and adult authority--Ralph is so overjoyed that he stands on his head at the very thought of unencumbered freedom.  As the boys start to drift toward savagery, the boys choose to wear paint and be wild; they revel against their upbringing.  Later, Jack rebels against Ralph and the authority of the conch. 

Youth (Where Are the Parents?)

A remarkable lack of adult supervision pervades in both of these works.  Both authors trim away the adult world to the periphery, choosing children as their protagonists; even in "The Destructors," Old Misery does not have an influential role or any bearing on the boys whatsoever. His absence on holiday invites the destruction of his house, and his very presence near the car park seems like an obstacle to overcome to the gang.  The absence of adults in Lord of the Flies feels like an empty hole, desperately wishing to be filled; toward the middle of the novel, Ralph and Piggy yearn for the return of adults. 

Setting/Time period

Both have World War II influences, and in both stories, the boys are British.  "The Destructors" takes place in 1959 near a bombed out row of houses in London.  In Lord of the Flies, the boys were evacuated from England because of the fear of a possible atom bomb.  The destructive nature of war is a powerful influence on the boys in both works.

 

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