Why did the gang want to destroy Mr.Thomas' house in The Destructors by Graham Greene?
The allure and appeal of destroying Mr. Thomas' house in the "The Destructors" for the Wormsley Common gang is two-fold. First, the boys want to destroy the house because of what it represents. Old Misery's house is the only one left standing in a long row of bombed out houses. The narrator suggests that "once the house had stood there with such dignity between the bomb sites like a man in a top hat." The refined, grand nature of Mr. Thomas' house rankles the members of the Wormsley Common gang, because of what it represents--refinement, higher society, a more genteel era. Many of these things are out of reach for the children in this gang; working with the idea of "if I cannot have it, no one should," the children, led by Trevor, pull the house down.
The boys also want to destroy Old Misery's house to build a name for themselves, to increase their notoriety with the other street gangs. Blackie ponders the possibility of demolishing the house:
"The fame of the Wormsley Common car park gang would surely reach around London. There would be headlines in the papers. Even the grown-up gangs who ran the betting at the all-in wrestling and the barrow-boys would hear with respect of how Old Misery’s house had been destroyed."
The destruction of Old Misery's house served two purposes for the boys of the Wormsley Common gang: ridding themselves of an unsightly reminder of social class and garnering fame and a tougher reputation for their gang.