Destructive or Constructive
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"Destructive or Constructive"
Graham Greene\'s "The Destructors" shows the behavior of a group of boys who live in London nine years after the end of World War II. The boys have grown up in a period of war, violence, and gangs. The boys do not live in a nurturing environment, so they depend on each other for knowledge and support. Since a typical environment is missing from the boys\' life in Greene\'s "The Destructors," the boys will react to the culture they grew up in destructively rather than constructively.
The boys grew up in a rare environment that changed their attitude towards the society that they live in. The boys grew up in London during World War II with constant bombing attacks. Many of the families did not sleep in their own homes because of the bombing; therefore, they had to sleep in the Underground stations that were used as bomb shelters. One of the boys "claims to have heard it fall," but he would have been too young to have heard the bomb fall (50). These are the boys\' childhood memories of growing up in their town. They play in a car-park that had been bombed during the war. The boys in that neighborhood did not have many of the luxuries as children in other towns had. They did not grow up with playgrounds, any form of recreational activity, or adult supervision. The boys were deprived of many childhood activities because of the war.
The boys did not grow up with much adult supervision, so they were denied some forms of civilized values. The town was not rebuilt after the war so many of the buildings were still in shambles. Some of the children\'s parents did not have jobs and had to change their job to fit into society. T.\'s father was a former architect that had to demote himself to a lower income job which caused him to "come down in the world" (50). The boys were not well educated or well mannered. They did not understand things such as kindness and courtesy to others, such as the time with Old Misery. When Old Misery gave the boys some chocolate candy, they were "puzzled and perturbed by this action" (50). They tried to figure out why Old Misery would give them candy. They tried to give excuses to each other that something must be wrong with the candy or that it was some form of a bribe. The boys were raised in a town of destruction and that was the behavior they developed as they grew up.
As the boys grew older they became more destructive and were not interested in the beautiful structures their town had to offer them. The boys live in a bomb stricken town and everything around them is ruined except for the beautiful house Old Misery lives in. T. realizes how "beautiful" Old Misery\'s house is and comes up with a plan to "destroy it" (52). The boys sneak into Old Misery\'s house and put their plan into action. The boys are destroyers "not thieves" so when the two boys found bundles of pound notes they burned them (55). The boys did not hold a grudge against Old Misery or even hate him because that would have taken the fun out of destroying his house. The boys thought of Old Misery\'s objects as "only things" as if none of these objects had any meaning or value to them (56). T. had a goal and it was to destroy the house, even if Old Misery came home in the middle of his plan. T. locked Old Misery up in his out house, and even though he was destroying his house he still had consideration towards him. He tried to make Old Misery as comfortable as he could be by giving him a blanket and some food. Even though the boys were acting ruthless, they still felt remorse towards Old Misery.
Although the boys seem to be "Destructors" they were reacting against the culture that they live in. The boys seem to be delinquents but they grew up in a bomb stricken town without well-behaved morals to live by because they did not have much supervision by their parents. It was in the
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The Destructors, Misery, The Boys
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