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Analysis of "The Destructors" by Graham Greene

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THE DESTRUCTORS- A COMPLETE EXPLANATION The word ?allegory? means that which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. These are typically moral or politically based works of? writing, in this case. ?The Destructors? explores and focuses on the former rather than the latter- the aforementioned ?morals?. This is majorly done using microcosms to reflect on the condition of England and its people within the actions and thoughts of the characters. It may sound a bit complicated at first, but basically the things that the characters in the story do and see are symbolic of the state of England at the time- after the second world war. Now, coming to the story itself- it follows the Wormsley Common Gang, a group of children living in Eastern London in 1956. The city is basically dreary, bleak, and lacks any type of warmth or compassion. Yep, it?s downright dreadful. ?Beauty? is a thing of the past; unheard of! It is a word that belongs to the ?class world?-which is now a joke, and ?parodied?. This is where the new generation has grown up, and it is all that the children have known. Greene begins the story in an almost childlike tone of voice, and establishes the sense of innocence that should be present in all of the children. ...read more.


The boys? lack of empathy can be quite a bit associated with their parents? examples, who had been forced to live through the war, and as a result becoming bitter and shrugging off their responsibilities. For instance, T.?s father had ?come down in the world? and his mother considered herself to be ?better than others?. We assume that he has had an unloved upbringing. Mike?s parents tell him to go to church on his own, as his mother ?felt ill? and his father was ?tired? (after a late night of drinking!) Mike recognizes these excuses and his impressionable mind gradually becomes influenced by lies. The boys are, in essence, left by themselves, and without the guidance of their parents, become hateful and aggressive. Of all the members of the gang, T. is probably the most radical and frightening. At first, when he calls Old Misery?s house ?beautiful? we are relieved to know that at least one of the children still appreciates beauty. Believe it or not, the other boys think the same thing, and rebuke T. for not stealing something while he had the chance. However, this statement is not one of appreciation. Far from it, it is an accusation! ...read more.


Greene describes the house as ?balanced on a few inches of bricks? and this is apt to describe the state of Britain?s economy; ?in shambles?. The fact that it is ultimately the driver who actually ?destroys? the house shows that although the initial idea of destruction was the boys?, their plan is finally executed by the generation that is responsible for their destructive nature. The line ?It?s nothing personal? is repeated twice in the story, once when Thomas is sitting in the loo, and once after the house has fallen, indicating that the driver did not feel the slightest hint of compassion for Thomas as he tries to control his laughter and for the children, who are responsible for the destruction of his house, it is an impersonal act borne of man?s aggressive nature. However, to Thomas, who can still remember the Britain of old, it is the loss of ties to the past and the annihilation of any hopes for the future for the second time; first to Germany, and second to the children of his own country, for which he had such high hopes. The final act of destruction demonstrated the transition of power over the generations, and expresses how the bitterness of war causes bitterness to fester in man?s heart until he becomes what he ought to despise. ...read more.

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