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Mood of the Destructors by Graham Greene

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The short story The Destructors by Graham Greene is narrated in the third person point of view.

In The Destructors, Graham Greene develops the idea of loss of innocence as a universal experience and stage in a person’s life growing up. The theme was developed by the group of boys in the Wormsley Common Gang. They have lost their innocence because we get to know how destructive they are. Although they are just young kids and a group of teenagers just having fun, their plans were not childish or innocent at all. Which they have turned into “The Destructors,” where they tore down Mr. Thomas’ house. In part one, Trevor said, “We’ll pull it down, We’ll destroy it.” He was referring to the old man’s house which he was invited into. Also, the boys have lost their feelings and emotions. They don’t love anyone or hate anyone. In part two, Trevor stated, “All this hate and love, it’s soft it’s hooey.” This clearly shows that the group has lost its innocence.

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The major conflict portrayed in this story is creation and destruction. The gang has grown up surrounded by the aftereffects of the WWII bombings. Influenced by it, they came up with a strategy to destroy Mr. Thomas’ house. It was the battle between the boys and Mr. T, locking him up in his own loo listening to the tearing of his beautiful house.

The rising action includes the gathering of the boys in the gang and the start of the destruction.

Foil: Blackie the past leader of the Wormsley Common Gang serves as a foil. Before Trevor’s plan to demolish Mr. Thomas’ house, Blackie wanted to “catch free rides.” Trevor’s plan engaged the rest of the gang and immediately the power transitioned from Blackie who was the leader to Trevor. This lead to Blackie going away to the back of the car park to kick a stone. It made him feel betrayed and also jealous, he wanted to be the person who comes up with the plans to achieve fame and status in the group. Simile: One of the similes in the story was when Trevor was burning the $70 he found under Mr. Thomas’s mattress. Trevor told Blackie that “We aren’t thieves” so instead of taking the money to share with the gang he decided to burn them one by one “The gray ash floated above them and fell on their heads like age.” The author connects the gray ash to the color of aged hair when the ash falls on their heads turning their hair color gray. Simile: Another simile in the story was when Trevor was telling the gang his plan for Mr. Thomas’ house. He explained to Blackie “We’d be like worms, don’t you see, in an apple.” He was describing how they will destroy the house from the inside and people will not be able to tell from the outside, just like a worm in an apple, eating the apple out from the inside and not visible on the out.

The short story says about human nature, in general, is power. The story displays the struggles of shifting power in the gang and also Mr. Thomas’ belief that he still has power which he does not. Mr. Thomas thinks that since he is an elder and he’s been on the earth longer than the kids, they should respect him. In the gang, Blackie learned to accept the truth that he is no longer the leader who holds the power and respects Trevor’s decisions. Looking at it from the outside, humans want to have power, being able to dominate over one and another. If the humans cannot receive that power they will still respect the power from the others, just like Blackie accepting Trevor as the new leader.     

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