EPORTFOLIO: The Destructors (2do Trimestre)

The Destructors and the Comparison to the real life

Sol Santayana

My second learning experience that I am about to publish on my e-portfolio is the story The Destructors by Graham Greene . This post is not necessary about an activity that we made o, although we made one  by answering some questions  and analyzing the story throughout an essay, but is post that I  decided today to write and express what i felt by reading this short story found on Stories of Ourselves, and how I connect to the real life. To sum up the story portraits a gang of children that looked to be innocent, until they destroyed an old man’s house. Also it if focused, algouth not directly, to the consequences of war that can leave on a society, throughout the story.

 

Activity:

Questions: 

  1. The Wormsley Common Gang. Comment on membership, recruitment, enemies, activities, and motivations. How about gangs today?
  2. What do you see as the central theme of this story? Remember: a theme is not simply a subject like “love”. It is a fuller expression of what an author is trying to suggest about this subject. Write a paragraph explaining your interpretation of this story’s theme.
  3. Identify three important conflicts present in the story. Explain what exactly is causing the problem—and whether they are internal or external in nature. Finally, explain which of these conflicts seems to the central problem.
  4. Draw an image of Mr. Thomas’ house. Now explain the gang’s motivation to destroy the house by webbing out points and quotations to each of the ideas below:

a) the age and beauty of the house

b)the gang’s usual pranks around London

c)what has occurred in the recent past with T’s parents

d)Blackie’s reaction to the word “beautiful”

e)The boys’ reaction to Mr. Thomas’ gift of chocolate

f)Summers’ reaction to the word “please”

g)the burning of the banknotes

h)their consideration for Old Misery

5. Of what significance is the setting of this story in blitzed London? Does the story have anything to say about the consequences of war? About the causes of war?

6. Address the following quotation in the story by explaining its context and overall significance to the story:  “Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators—and destruction after all is a form of creation. A kind of imagination had seen this house as it had now become.”

7. Describe what happens in the resolution of the story. Why might Graham Greene have ended the story in this ironic manner?

8. On the surface this is a story of action, suspense, and adventure. At a deeper level it is about delinquency, war, and the hidden forces which motivate our actions. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.

9. Research a definition of the philosophy of nihilism. How might the Wormsley Common Gang actions in the story demonstrate a kind of nihilism?

 

Answers: 

  1. The Wormsley Common Gang’ members are Mike, Summers and Blackie who is the leader. Later on, Trevor joined that gang and took Blackies position and became the leader with an ambitious objective. His desire was to destroy Mr. Thomas, Old Misery, house. Trevor’ hatred toward him grew increasingly as the time passes. Competing his objective would satisfy all of his proud and envy. His lack of revenge took control of his mind and body to make him to destroy Old Misery’s belongings, as the war did to him. However, gang’s today are not the same as they were some time ago, today are more likely to be integrated by old man or kids playing.
  2. The main theme of The Destructors is “Destruction is necessary for new beginning”. There are a lot of tension between classes, the social classes. Mainly from T’s perspective because of how the war had destroyed everything he had, his house. He wanted to take revenge on Mr Thomas because of the conditions of his house, damaging the physical conditions of it.

a)“Crippled house”

b)“ The gang met every morning in an impormout car-park, the site of the last bomb of the first blitz.”

c)“It was the word “beautiful” that eoried him – that belonged to a class world that could still see parodied at the Wormsley Common Empire…” (for him a house is never beautiful; in fact, nothing is, due to the fact that he was a class boy, a poor boy.)

d)“ Bet someone dropped them and he picked’ em up’” (nothing good can come from society)

e)“But his authority has gone with his ambiguity. He was only one of the gang” “Summers mimicked him, and then suddenly struck home with the fatal name” (irony, he couldn’t believe)

f)“Old Misery’s savings”…”We aren’t thieves” T, said. “Nobody’s going to steal anything from this house. I kept these for you and me- a celebration”…” We will burn them”

g)“Here’s a blanket” the voice said, and long grey sausage was worked through the hole and fell in swathes over Mr Thomas’s head”…”we want you to be comfortable tonight”

4.

Draw: 

a)“Crippled house”

b)“ The gang met every morning in an impormout car-park, the site of the last bomb of the first blitz.”

c)“It was the word “beautiful” that eoried him – that belonged to a class world that could still see parodied at the Wormsley Common Empire…” (for him a house is never beautiful; in fact, nothing is, due to the fact that he was a class boy, a poor boy.)

d)“ Bet someone dropped them and he picked’ em up’” (nothing good can come from society)

e)“But his authority has gone with his ambiguity. He was only one of the gang” “Summers mimicked him, and then suddenly struck home with the fatal name” (irony, he couldn’t believe)

f)“Old Misery’s savings”…”We aren’t thieves” T, said. “Nobody’s going to steal anything from this house. I kept these for you and me- a celebration”…” We will burn them”

g)“Here’s a blanket” the voice said, and long grey sausage was worked through the hole and fell in swathes over Mr Thomas’s head”…”we want you to be comfortable tonight”

5.  The setting of the story have a significant meaning. The author of the story is an English written and wrote this story in 1954, during the WW2. The war affected London and damaged it in a harras way. The streets and houses were destroyed and people living conditions decreases. This made Trevor to take revenge on Old Misery’s house  because of his envy and lack of resentment. The war destroyed T’s house and all of the other houses in the neighborhood, except Mr.Thomas house.

6. This quotation is refering the post war situation, and the ridiculousness of war itself. The quote is very ironic, as it shows the hard work of human people, to build whole cities, to destruct them in a short and fast time. It’s very ironic the the people make the same mistakes throughout our history, and we can’t learn about them, to prevent how to stop before happens.

7. What happens in the resolution is that they locked down Mr Misery in the bathroom cubicle and a men who had the house tied down to his lorry broke the house down. What Graham Greene wanted to do with the ending of the story is that even though war had already destructed the London what would give the last straw that broke the canela back would be the british society.

8. The kids are a metaphor of war and the house is a representation of London. The author wants to portray how war had destructed the society of London and how it had been damaged from the roots. The kids represent war and violence, that’s why they break the house, because the author wants to make a critic about the consequences of war in the society. The kids didn’t care about Mr misery, they only wanted destruction, which is what war represents violence destruction and hatred. And the house was london, it did not survived the “war”.

9. Nihilism is a condition in which all ultimate values lose their value. That means that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is useless and senseless. In our opinion, the Wormsley Common Gang represent a society post war where the nihilism is present. Nihilism is based on a belief where conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility. That could be compared to the gang and to the society at that time.The situation was so destroyed, that the gang finish with the destruction, they end up with the only thing that survived war to begin all over again.They forgot about the moral values in society, because there was any value in society at that time.

 

Essay:    

Graham Greene’s portrayal of human nature, in “The Destructors,” conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. This message is clearly projected by the characters and their actions: that children born to a traumatized society will grow rebellious. Comment closely on this.

Graham Greene’s portrayal of human nature, in “The Destructors,” conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. This is clearly projected in the story by the main characters and their actions.

At the beginning of the story, we realize that children know, what is right and what is not. They just like to feel the adrenaline of being rebellious and doing something that is wrong. All this is related to the rite of passage and to the postwar crisis its consequence.

Moreover, we can notice that the author uses rite of passage along the story. This consist on the process of matureness, and it contains 5 different elements that must be accomplished. The 5 elements are; an object of desire; trespassing (defying authority); dare/challenge (construction of identity); the mischief (should be owned up and dealt in a mature way); atonement (confession, acceptance and regret). To specify more I will leave all the steps of the story in the context of the rite of passage. An object of desire: T’s desire to destitute power by proving himself what is capable of doing. He wants to turn into the leader of the gang by taking over Blackie.Trespassing (defying authority): Defying the law, defying the adults and lastly defying Blackie’s leadership by breaking into the house. T’s looking for power and respect. Dare/Challenge (construction of identity): Challenges the authority by planning to break inside the house. T wishes to have their orders completely followed. The mischief (should be owned up and dealt in a mature way): Rite of passage not completed. T and the other members of the gang did not feel sorry for what they did. They think it’s actually funny. The gang did not realize about what they have done and did not accept the consequences of destroying the house of a good man. Atonement (confession, acceptance and regret): Again the same. The gang did not apologize to Mr Thomas. The action of regretting and assuming responsibility and maturity is missing. No one feels sorry for Mr Thomas neither the gang nor the driver of the lorry.

By analyzing each step in “The Destructors”, we can conclude that its not have been completed, so this means that they are just kids, but they know that what they have done was wrong, but still they thought it was fun, because they are still innocent kids and they don’t know the severity of the situation.

Furthermore, the destruction of Old misery’s house was more senseless than the destruction brought about war. The war had an aim, soldiers fought to gave their lives for their people and country, while what the kids did with Old misery’s home had no sense for them, except for Trevor. He was just jealous that his house wasn’t destructed by war. 

 The story is set in London, which was extremely damaged after World War Two. The story complains about the consequences of war. Firstly, because it explains how war destroyed every house placed there. Secondly, because it affected people emotionally. In the story, the children did not trust that something good could happen and wanted to destroy the only house that survived the war, the members of the gang didn’t understand why Trevor wanted to destroy Mr Old mystery’s house. 

In conclusion, Greene do not conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. Trevor and the other gang’s members are innocent kids that thought that what they did was good, they didn’t think of two sides, good and evil. They felt desire of destructions and anger, towards Mr Thomas’s house. This can be compare to the destruction and pain war caused in this kid, in a cruel manner. 

 

 

I have today to important subjects to talk about, the first one is about the consequence of war, that it can also be related with the poems that we have read during the year, that also talks about the after war, and also we can connect to the subject history, that i saw in school, in my case, the WW1 and the beginning of the WW2. And the other subject I would like to talk is about the gangs now a days. So let start with the first subject.  The story deals with the results of WW2, and  how traumas are so deep after war it is so painful and destructive, as the name of the short story, that the damage is also phycological to all the society, that is why it can be said that the story clearly represents a broken society, after war. It is clearly shown how  war can cause that one person changes its attitude and emotions; how it can actually change the society’s behaviour and way of thinking.

As I said I could also relate this story to the poems read during this year about the consequences of war, and the impact to people. One of the poems that had a big impact on me was “Soldier Rest!”, by Sir Walter Scott whose aim is to protest the whole meaning of war. His finles word in the poem was to transmit the message the the war is so horrible that is even better to die than to live after war since living as a veteran is that bad. Another poem that I liked was Dulce Et Decorum Est by Owens that mainly criticized the church and the government, that made kids go to war forced. 

 

Last but not least, is the second subject, that is about the gangs nowaday compared to that time and with the gande described on the story. Gangs nowadays have really changed to the point of being very interesting comparing between them. In the past they were quite innocent groups of friends, just as the story describes, they were innocent kids, that enjoy jumping  despite the seriousness of what they made at the house. Their “crimes” where nothing compared to gangs nowadays. Their aims are very different, o maybe you can say that the way that they express nowadays is very violent. They used to be trouble makers, for the law. Nowadays members are usually from 16 upwards, their activities are violent and illegal. They are involved with drugs and violence, and sometimes with death. Also they are a threat for society, they are dangerous. 

This is what it looks like a gang of nowadays

 

Thats why I really liked this story, because it made me think about a lot of interesting subjects, such as life after war and the comparison with gangs nowadays and before. It made me also able to  understand Trevor,  and why he made all the thing that he made to Mr Thomas, although I also feel sorry for him. This story covers many topics, that it is one of my favorite activities, and also interesting, that why I loved it so much. 

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