The Destructors Summary

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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“The Destructors” is a story about a gang of teenage boys in post-World War II London when they decide to destroy a house just to see if they can do it.

When the story begins, a group of teenagers are meeting in an “impromptu car-park” trying to find something to do.  They have recently been joined by a new boy named T. and their leader’s name is Blackie.  T shows up late one day and says he has been in the house of Old Misery, a man that tried to rebuild most of his house after the bombs fell.  T. proposes breaking into the house when the old man will be away.

T. raised his eyes, as gray and disturbed as the drab August day. “We’ll pull it down,” he said. “We’ll destroy it.”

The boys worry about the police, but since it is a holiday they are pretty sure they will be ok.  They agree to meet at the house.  Under T.’s leadership, they methodologically destroy it.

He had a sense of great urgency, and already he could begin to see the plan. The interior of the house was being carefully demolished without touching the outer walls.  When they are done, Blackie finally asks why they did it.

“There’d be no fun if I hated him.” … “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.

Mr. Thomas arrives before the boys are completely finished, and T. distracts him by telling him that one of the boys is stuck in the loo.  Mr. Thomas is “scandalized” that the boys are so familiar with his house, but he follows.  They lock him in.  They even feed him.

The next morning, the house is destroyed when a driver pulls away and takes the house down.  He realizes that his truck was tied to it.  Mr. Thomas comes running out, devastated, but the driver just thinks it’s funny.

One of the main themes of the story is that life does not have inherent value to everyone.  As a people, we have chosen to follow a social contract.  However, not every person grows up with that sense of value.  Clearly the boys in the story grew up in a time and place where the wanton destruction of World War II left them morally bankrupt.

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kittygirl86 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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The story is set some time after the world war. Its about a gang who on a daily basis commit small harmless crimes. One of the members of the gang Trevor (the silent and reserved guy, known as T.) comes up with a plan to destroy Mr.Thomas's House who is known as 'Old misery'. Trevor becomes the leader and the gang destroy Mr.Thomas House when he leaves for two days on a bank holiday. Eventhough Mr.Thomas comes back early, they lock him in the loo and resume their work till the house is completly destroyed.

The Theme of the Story is 'The Loss of innocence' as the boys of the gang were very young and innocent minded the circumstances and the conditions had had a huge impact on their minds and lives. Their minds were effected. Like Trevor whose mind was greatly affected. His father and mother were of a high class, and because of thewar his dad lost his job and got stuck with a job of typist. His family lost their High Status of the society. He had seen destruction,he had witnessed bomb attacks and had seen everything being destroyed. So when T. saw Mr Thomas house from the inside he felt like destroying it because all his life he had seen everything beautiful being destroyed and beacuse his mind was greatly affected by the war he had this desire to destroy it. The other boys were also affected but not the way T. was but they all had lost their innocence and had stepped into the world of crime. 


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soraanfarah-2000 | eNotes Newbie

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This short story focuses on the horrific quality of life in addition to the events that occur daily, as this takes place only nine years after the war (1954). Though now is a time to explore the message behind this story in greater depth. (this story is split into 3 sub chapters). The gang of boys commit small crimes on a small daily basis. A silent and reserved member of the gang (T; as this stands for Trevor), hatches a plan to destroy Mr. Thomas’s (in the story he is known as Old Misery) house.