Essay on “The Destructors”

Our teacher, Pato, asked us to write an essay based on  one of these questions:

1) In “The Destructors”, Graham Greene portrays a world in transition, a society moving away from respect chaos. Do you agree?

2) How far is “The Destructors” a story about a gang destroying a house?

I chose to write about question 2 and this is the essay that I wrote.

In the story, there is a gang that destroys a hous, but behind it, the author is trying to tell us something else.

First of all, what Graham Greene is really trying to show, is how Britain was destroyed after World War 2 blitz. He compares the kids destroying Old Misery’s house, to the Germans destroying Britain and that neighborhood. “‘You’, he said to Mike, ‘bring some big nails’ (…)”. In this quote, ‘T’ is telling Mike what to do, he’s giving Mike orders, probably making reference to Hitler giving orders to the soldiers. The writer  uses the microcosm and the macrocosm to compare both ideas. Microcosm for the house’s destruction and macrocosm for London’s destruction.

Secondly, Greene depicts, in an ‘indirect way’, the lack of empathy there was after the war and in the story. “his father, a former architect and present clerk, had ‘come down in the world’ (…)”, this quote explains how ‘T”s father was a very successful man but with the blitz, he ‘came down in the world’ and became a clerk. How they went from being the ‘high class’ to the ‘lower class’, and nobody cared about it beacuse after the war, people became very self-centered, they didn’t care about the others so nobody helped Trevor’s family. Further in the story, this lack of empathy is ‘refelected’. “He gave a sobbing cry. ‘My house’, he said. ‘Where’s my house?’ ‘Search me’, said the driver”. The driver’s very ironic. He laughs, he thinks this is a joke while a person just lost his house, everything he had, partly, thanks to him and the trucker doesn’t even care. This clearly shows the lack of compassion in society.

Finally, he uses symbolism to show that after the war, class equality started reigning since a lot of people from high/middle class left everything behind or lost everything and became part of the lower class. “‘We’ll burn them'” Graham uses symbolism to show that ‘T’ wanted to burn Mr. Thomas’ savings to erase their differences. In addition, he was envious because his family was part of the ones that became lower class while Old Misery and his house had survived the bombing. Trevor burnt the money to equal them.

In conclusion, the story is about Britain’s destruction during World War 2 but symbolized/reflected as a group of kids destroying a house.


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