Graham Greene’s “The Destructors” is a short story that takes place in London nine years after the conclusion of World War II. Post-war conflict had struck after that (“the last bomb of the first blitz”) and because of this, situations such as the destruction of Old Misery’s house occurred. The story uniquely conveys the boys’ desire to destory, gain power and to gain acknowledgement (“The fame of the Wormsley Commen car-park gang would surely be reach around London”). They are out to show society they still exist, and doesn’t like to be looked down upon (“Even the grown-ups gangs who ran the betting at the all-in wrestling and the barrow-boys would hear with respect”) and they want to opress something that stands out in their impoverished world (Old Misery’s house, the only house left standing in the bomb-site).
This story not only shows a distinct power of the Wormsley Common gang but also shows everyone else’s desire to gain power. In the story Greene focuses on mainly the destruction of the house but looking past that the destruction of the house was merely a small piece belonging to a big puzzle. Destructions equal power, becoming the destructor means becoming powerful. The need for power had started it all. Beginning with the German’s blitz because they wanted to become more powerful and rule which then led to other destructions. The struggle to gain power is once just a blurred image, a story within a story that can’t be simply told.
8, on the surface this is a story of action, suspense, and adventure. At a deeper level it is about delinquency, war, and human nature. Try to sum up what the story says about human nature in general.
The author of the story of The Destructors emphasizes on how human nature was being destructed due to the battle of battle and how the war affected people’s behavior. This story happened after the Second World War as the author referred to “the last bomb of the first blitz” (53); hence, we should know the majority of people were living in misery as they were afflicted from the pain of losing their family, houses, property and so forth due to the war. The conflict for kids was how to tear the house down as the microcosm of the war. Nations could fight each other without any consideration, which means people could do anything without observing the law.
Take Trevor, the protagonist in the story, for example. He was a leader of the Wormsley Common Gang. He determined to destroy a house that survived in the Blitz. He said, “We’ll pull it down and destroy it,” (55) which show the delinquency of people that existed in the period of Second World War. Thanks to the influence of the war, they did not show the repentance about their action. When they grow up, what will happen is that they may destroy the country rather than the house. In addition, as for human nature, kids were jealous about someone who had something they did not have. It can be illustrated with the example of Blackie and Trevor. Despite the fact that Trevor said, “It’s a beautiful house,” (54) he still wanted to destroy it as he recognized beauty as something he never had and want to take it away from Old Misery.
When comes to Blackie, it is also true. Besides, some of kids in gang did not have ability to think independently and critically. They just followed the orders of Trevor, which also reflects people’s human nature in that period. As far as I am concerned, they did bad things not because they were naturally bad people. It can be demonstrated with the example of Summer, one of the members in the gang. He said, “We had done a lot. We can’t do any more.” (60) According to the above analysis, it goes without saying that the human nature was distorted a lot by the war, and the juvenile delinquency was risen up due to the influence of the war.