Compressions 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 Blackie, the gang’s leader, is intimidated. Later in the story when asked why he’s destroying Old Misery’s house if he doesn’t hate him, Trevor reveals this life-view to Blackie: “All this hate and love, it 's soft, it 's hooey. There 's only things.” (6)1 By suppressing his emotions and keeping them, like his words, to himself Trevor further

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