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Greene, Graham. "The Destructors".


- the children gang: the original leader Blackie replaced by the mysterious Trevor (15) called T. for his funny name; met at the site of the last bomb of the 1st blitz, now a car-park, neighbouring with a house crippled by the bomb, occupied by Mr Thomas called Old Misery

- T. becomes the leader when he proposes to pull down his house from inside ("ike worms…in an apple"), Blackie accepts his leadership for his ambition to achieve fame for the gang even among "the grown-up gangs" when the action succeeds

- T. impresses Blackie with his sense for organisation and with the "something special" he saved for himself and for Blakie for the celebration, that is Old Misery's saving, which the two do not steal but burn to ashes

- Blackie impresses T. with his support to cover the breakdown of T.'s authority on the unexpected return of Old Misery followed by T.'s childish protest that it is not "fair"

- T. lures Old Misery into the loo in his garden to lock him in, finishes the destructive work to leave only outer walls standing, and provides Old Misery with a blanket and food for night

- morning: the lorry driver touches the wooden shore supporting the house to make the steering of the lorry easier, the house is pulled down, and the driver finds out his lorry was tied to the wooden strut with a rope – to his own great amusement x to the desperate inability to grasp what happened on the part of the now released Old Misery



- irony: Old Misery's horoscope warning against "Danger of serious crash"; the lorry driver's inadvertent laughter following the crash of the house; the former architect occupation of T.’s father and builder occupation of Old Misery

- ambitious struggle for leadership

- destruction versus creation and destruction as creation ("destruction after all is a form of creation")

- unjust, nonsense, childish action (paralell to WWII?)


  • Author

    Greene, Graham. (1904 - 1991).
  • Full Title

    "The Destructors".
  • First Published

    In: Twenty-One Stories. London: William Heinemann, 1954.
  • Form

    Short story.

Works Cited

Greene, Graham. "The Destructors". Twenty-One Stories. (1954). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.


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