First Impressions In Graham Greene's The Destructors

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How does a two-hundred-year-old house crumble to rubble at the pull of a rope? And more importantly; who is behind it? In Graham Greene’s short story “The Destructors” a small boys gang in post-World War II London accepts a new member into their ranks. He takes charge as the group sets out on a mission to destroy an old nearby house from the inside out. Meeting the protagonist Trevor for the first time we’re given the immediate impression of a stereotypical sullen bad boy. However, first impressions are deceptive. Underneath his tough and audacious exterior, Trevor hides a childlike innocence that reveals itself in moments of conflict. Within the Wormsley Common Gang, a name like Trevor is a liability. Fortunately for Trevor, the gang appreciates “possibilities about his brooding silence” (1)1 and accepts him as a member. Additionally, the “odd quality of danger, of the unpredictable” (1)1 that he projects intimidates them. Thanks to this quality and his silence Trevor is perceived as tough. When Blackie laughs at Trevor’s plan to destroy Old Misery’s house, he stops abruptly “daunted by [Trevor’s] serious implacable gaze”. (3)1 Even…show more content…
Thanks to his air of toughness he is accepted into the gang, and under his audacious leadership the gang is pushed to new heights. However, though he appears tough and audacious, Trevor also has an innocent childlike side that is revealed when conflict cracks his outer shell. This contrasting dimension of naïveté and morality that we discover late in the story makes Trevor a dynamic and likeable character, prompting us root for him despite our better judgment. Graham Greene’s choice to explore the cracks in the walls we build around ourselves as well as the ones we live in elevates “The Destructors” from a short story about young boys wreaking havoc to a thoughtful composition on what must be destroyed in order to rebuild, reveal, or
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