Why did Graham Greene choose the name "The Destructors" rather than "The Destroyers"?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The title is a combination of "destroyers" and "constructors" and is a satirical reference to political life in post-war Britain.

After the shock defeat of Winston Churchill in the 1945 General Election, the new Labour government embarked upon a radical program of socialist change. Although Greene, as a man of the Left, was generally supportive of such measures, he nonetheless saw the dangers of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, of sweeping away what was valuable as well as those old traditions and ways of doing things that had long since become obsolete.

He was concerned that the new government, in its enthusiasm for building a new socialist Jerusalem, would also destroy much of what was good about the old system. In "The Destructors" old misery's house can be seen as a symbol of what Greene thought that Britain was in danger of losing amidst the general mania for change and radical reform.

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Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Graham Greene titled his short story “The Destructors” rather than “The...

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