The teenage years are defined as a time when individuals develop a sense of who they actually are. It is also at this time that an individuals’ morals and grounded and the individuals decide which path they want to take in life. Without the proper guidance, or due to the hostile environment that individuals grow up, they might take the wrong values. Such is the scenario depicted in the “Destructors” as written by Greene. It talks about a boys’ gang called the ‘Wormsley Common Gang.” They lift in the post World War II world and are bent on mischief. They take buses and destroy property. Their one target becomes an old house that was spared by the Blitz. They take a time when the owner was away to do their destruction. Though the owner returns early, there was nothing much he could do to save his house.
The story has an ironic twist. It shows that destruction is not just a matter of coincidence. Rather, it is something that is pre-contemplated and planned, then executed to precision. That is why the gang is so organized and good at planning. This assertion brings out the issue of good and evil. Both are creations of man, and one has to choose to which he will be an agent. Another issue that comes out clearly is chance. It appears that most things in the world happen by chance. The boys, such as Trevor, do not seem to be that evil but they are part of the gang anyway, the idea to burn the house comes at such an opportune time when the owner was away, and even though he returns early, chance has it that one of the gang members notices him and warns the others. Chance is given dominance. Overall, it can be said that the story is symbolic. The old house represents the order in the world where man lives, and its destruction is an indication of the evil in the world that tends to take away the order in it.
Greene, Graham. “The Destructors.” In: Greene, Graham. Twenty One Stories, 1954.