After reading the story, let´s work on different aspects.
Here the link to the story: The Destructors
- Research and compare the Wormsley Common Gang with modern American gangs. Consider factors like membership, recruitment, enemies, activities, and motivations. What similarities did you find? What are some differences?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- the age and beauty of the house
- the gang’s usual pranks around London
- what has occurred in the recent past with T’s parents
- Blackie’s reaction to the word “beautiful”
- The boys’ reaction to Mr. Thomas’ gift of chocolate
- Summers’ reaction to the word “please”
- the burning of the banknotes
- their consideration for Old Misery
- 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?
- Write a short character sketch of T. Think of a dominant character trait, and then discuss his background, personality, motivations, important statements, and what others say about him. Your sketch should be a minimum of 300 words.
- 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.”
- Describe what happens in the resolution of the story. Why might Graham Greene have ended the story in this manner?
- 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.
- Does the destruction of Old Misery’s house by the boys seem more senseless than the destruction brought about by the war that had destroyed London—or do you see it differently? Explain in a paragraph.
- Research a definition of the philosophy of nihilism. How might the Wormsley Common Gang’s actions in the story demonstrate a kind of nihilism?
Choose a question to write an essay
- The setting for this story is London, nine years after the city survived a series of bombing attacks during WWⅡ. How does this setting contribute to the development of the story?
- “The Destructors” written by Graham Greene is set in London nine years after the end of World War II. People survived from “The Blitz”. The Blitz “was Nazi Germany’s sustained aerial bombing campaign against Britain in World War Two.”(The Blitz) Everything was in chaos, people lost their home, slept in the underground station and lost their hope for the future. 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 message is clearly projected by the characters and their actions: that children born to a traumatized society will grow rebellious. Comment closely on this.