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The Destructors by Graham Greene
Transcript of The Destructors by Graham Greene
Paradox is a seemingly contradictory statement that nonetheless reveals a deeper truth.
The destruction of the house was not an accident or a random act.
He uses his leadership and the malleable minds of the other kids to use his skills for destruction and not creation.
This self-inflicted destruction parallels Graham Greene and his constant ability to hurt his own progression in life.
by George Bross and Shane Bell
"The Lightning War"
The Blitzkrieg tactic was a sudden and overwhelming attack
It involved the Luftwaffe bombing civilian cities in Europe, including England.
For about 8 months, bombs were dropped in the streets of London everyday, causing widespread destruction.
There was an average of 160 bombs dropped per night.
Blitzkrieg: Why and How
The bombing began when London was attacked by a single air strike, and Winston Churchill responded by ordering air raids on Berlin
Adolf Hitler retaliated by ordering air strikes on London
Bombing was meant to do two things:
Cripple Britain's war economy
Destroy the morale of the British people, encouraging surrender
The two types of places targeted were:
Britain's Reaction to the Blitz
Churchill's "never say die" attitude was one of the primary motivators for the British citizens
RAF (Royal Air Force), anti-aircraft weaponry and the Battle of Britain
Bomb shelters in most of the non-demolished structures
Children During WWII
Those without homes stayed in shelters
Almost everything was rationed
Children had to go to work
Children had to wear "identification tags"
Many children were evacuated from the country, or simply given away for their own good
Some managed to still go to school
Born in Berkhamstead, Hertforsdhire in 1904 to a wealthy family
Parents: Charles Greene & Marion Raymond Greene
Attended Berkhamstead School, where his father was headmaster, and Balliol College, Oxford.
Published over 60 works in college
Married Vivien Dayrell-Browning, who he later divorced
Mental Health and Personal Beliefs
Was an alcoholic and suffered from Bipolar Disorder
Originally a self-proclaimed atheist, but converted to Catholicism shortly after marrying his Catholic wife, Vivien
Wrote for an anti-Semitic journal called The Patriot in college
Was a member of the Communist party
Believed Titles held a man back
Had two children, Lucy and Francis, with his wife Vivien
In 1947, he divorced Vivien for two main reasons:
He felt their marriage was affecting his writing
His multiple affairs
Greene had four mistresses: Catherine Walston, Dorothy Glover, Anita Bjork and Yvonne Cloetta
Admitted to having relationships with at least 47 prostitutes.
His Bipolar disorder was most likely the cause of his irresponsible sexual behavior
His Life During World War II
Lost his newly built home to the Blitz
Reacted to this with detached indifference
Joined the MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Services) during WWII and was stationed in Sierra Leone
Afterwords he worked for the Foreign Office in London
Graham Greene would travel frequently
Moved to France after his financial advisor, Tom Roe, was arrested.
In his old age, Greene felt remorse for his hedonistic tendencies
Graham Greene died on April 3, 1991
Opens up on a post-blitz London street on the eve of a bank holiday.
Follows gang of teenagers called the "Wormsley Commons Gang."
The story follows the new kid in town, Trevor (Called "T." by the gang because his name couldn't be taken seriously.)
T.'s father was a failed architect who "came down in the world"
T. is silent and barely forms full sentences.
The leader of the gang's name is Blackie; decides the day's plan.
The house by where the gang meets is numbered 3 and is barely standing. The only standing house on the street.
T. points out that the house was built by Wren, a famous architect.
The group does not care about this statement.
The owner of this house's name was a cranky man named Mr. Thomas.
The gang calls him "Old Misery" and resents him for unknown reasons.
T. shows up late the next day to the meeting place and explains that he was in "Old Misery's" house and that the inside is beautiful.
T. explains that he wants to destroy it.
Old Misery will be out for the weekend on the bank holiday so th boys devise a plan to destroy the house while he is gone.
T. becomes the leader of the gang at this moment, and gives out jobs to each person.
The day consists of the gang destroying the house entirely. They want to remove any sign that the house was even there.
T. brings Blackie to Old Misery's bedroom where he found his savings. T. slowly burns each bill one by one.
The kids call it a day and return the next day only to be alarmed that Old Misery was on his way home.
T. is determined to destroy everything.
Some of the boys pretend to be stuck in Mr. Thomas' loo while another one calls for help.
When Old Misery extends his hand the boy make a maneuver and lock him in his own bathroom.
The gang continues the work and leaves the house in shambles. As a finale omage the boys tie one of the wooden struts to the bumper of a car in the lot so that when he starts to drive away, the finale nail in the house's coffin would be uprooted.
The man hears Old Misery shouting for help. The man finds Old Misery and begins to laugh at Old Misery's pain.
The man says "There's nothing personal, but you got to admit its funny"
Allegory- A story in which people, things, and happenings, all have a symbolic or hidden meaning.
Trevor and the Wormsley Common Gang are symbols of the war. (Symbol-something that stands for, represents, or suggests another thing.)
The boys represent the Nazi Regime during the Second World War.
The bombing were directly aimed at crippling the spirits of the British people, as the gang's aim was to demolish Old Misery's hope.
The gang had the same mentality at the Nazi Luftwaffe.
The gang is driven and ruthless in their cause as was the Nazis.
Mr. Thomas represents the people of London.
Neither Mr. Thomas or the people of London did anything to provoke this attack.
"It's nothing personal"
The boys in the gang symbolize the way postwar Britain was becoming.
These children only knew destruction, they were born in destruction.
They were a direct product of the war.
The boys could not fathom Mr. Thomas' kindness and took it as a negative.
The gang did not understand beauty.
The boys had no knowledge of the architectural significance of Wren and his cathedral.
Destruction is a Form of Creation
The Money Burning Scene
(A combination of circumstances that is the opposite of what might be expected.
Examples in the story: The car driver laughing at Old Misery's life
The fact that Old Misery's house survived the blitz, but was ultimately destroyed.
Old Misery wipes his feet before visiting the site of his house.
T.'s father built houses while T. destroyed them.
The eerie scene where Trevor burns the money can be explained with the knowlege of Greene's destroyed house
This scene reflects Greene's feelings towards loosing his possessions and home to the Blitz: he thinks they're only things.
Trevor's comment on love and hate is also connected to Greene's detachment from social norms
Examples in the story include:
The gang is driven by their fearless leader, T.
T. wanted approval of the gang, wanted a stable relationship outside of his unstable home.
The success of another architect (Wren), could anger T. because his father failed as an architect.
Examples in the story include:
The gang believes that the destruction of Old Misery's house is appropriate because of all the other destruction.
They did not treat the man poorly though.
The gang was not phased by the massive deed that they committed.
The morals of the people were shook by war.