The Destructors - Literary Analysis

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The Destructors - A Literary Analysis Graham Greene’s portrayal of human nature, as seen in his 1954's literary piece “The Destructors,” conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. This message is clearly projected by the characters and their actions, guided by the invisible hand that is one of the central themes of the short story: that children born to a traumatized society will grow rebellious. Set in the post-World War II London, England, Greene uses a gang of pre-teen boys, who fancy calling themselves the “Wormsley Common gang,” as the medium for presenting this idea. He illustrates, above all else, that peoples’ actions are greatly determined by their surroundings. Because of their destroyed setting, it becomes normal for them to be destructive themselves. Experiencing first hand the havoc inflicted by the war, Greene’s characters fol Continue...


Also touching upon the discepencies of human nature, Greene embellishes on the classic motive of fame and glory, as when the boys take on their biggest challenge 2 and plot to destroy one of the last houses spared from the carnage of battle. The boys in "The Destructors are still youthful enough to keep their innocence, yet they become cruel and selfish in their decisions. Even though T schemes to destroy his home, occasionally treats the old man with disrespect and regards him (and his gifts) with suspicion, he still does not hate him. Greene's use of paradox in the story is evident through T's behavior toward Mr. The youth no longer feels connected to the past due to socialities undergoing change, yet they strangely emphasize this disconnection civilly. As the house eventually comes toppling down, so does the boys last symbol of oppression; the demise of everything that they, as the new society, can no longer have. low the only example set forth and make similar destructive choices. Another prevailing theme of Greene's "The Destructors, is one that is identified easily while in the boys' mind-set: that destruction is a form of creation. Nonetheless, the effective combination of characterization, theme, symbolism and paradoxirony make this story what it truly is - one of Greene's most brilliantly disturbing short stories. The gang of boys symbolize the "new generation, sons of the war who want to bitterly disassociate themselves from anything former. "There was every reason why T, as he was afterwards referred to, should have been an object of mockery. "Of course I don't hate him, T said. "You hate him a lot Blackie asked. "Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators - and destruction after all is a form of creation.