The Destructors Reaction Paper
When reading “The Destructors” by Graham Greene without knowing some background about the setting one would think that it was a story about some juvenile delinquents acting out on boredom, but Greene was really letting the reader in on the effects that World War II had on the youth in London. He was able to write a literary fiction story using symbolism to explain the protagonist’s feelings toward the war and the effects it had on his family and also to suggest that there were no hard feelings toward Old Misery, just toward what the house represented.
The destruction of Old Misery’s house symbolized the rage T felt toward the world, rather than Old Misery. He chose to take it out on Old Misery’s house because it was designed by a famous architect and T’s father was an architect before the war, but had to become a clerk after the war. Another reason was that Old Misery’s house “stood there with such dignity between the bomb-sites like a man in a top hat.” To many this house was a landmark because unlike many houses around it, it survived World War II, but for T the house was a constant reminder of what his family had gone through because of World War II and for that reason he wanted to tear it down at all costs.
The author gave us clues that T’s antagonist was something other than Old Misery because, as the leader of the gang, T found Old Misery’s savings and decided that the gang would take turns burning each pound note one by one. This part of the story was significant because T could have kept the money in his pocket (like any other typical gang member) because no one else knew he had it. Also, toward the end of the story, the gang locked Old Misery in his outhouse, but left him a blanket and some food after destroying his house. Someone with a vendetta against another wouldn’t lock him in an outhouse and still make sure that he was warm and fed.
In conclusion, Greene used symbolism in this story to bring awareness...