House Symbolism In The Destructors

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“The Destructors” is a story of the Wormsley Common gang’s destruction of an old house shortly after World War II. The gang consists of teenage boys who meet every day in the parking place next to an old house. Mr. Thomas is the owner of the house. The teenagers consistently harass him and finally destroy his house under Trevor’s leading. In Graham Greene's “The Destructors,” Mr. Thomas’s house symbolizes England after World War II.
First of all, the structure of the house, known as the “Old Misery’s,” represents the past glory of England. The elaborateness of the house is symbolic of the old class structure. Trevor, or T., describes the house to be “beautiful,” and this word worries Blackie, the initial leader of the gang, because it “[belongs] to a class world” (90). To the new generation, the class structure is an unpleasant remnant of the past. The house, like England, has a rich history:
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The setting of the house represents the influence of World War II. The house is standing alone amidst the destroyed neighbor houses, just like England who remained independent during the war. The war, however, did leave marks on the English society which is now on the verge of collapsing: the house is tilted and needs the support of “wooden struts” because of the “blast of the bomb” (88). The broken pipes represent the damage caused by World War II. Pipes are essential to a house’s daily function of water circulation. The Second World War broke England’s “pipes,” which represent its social structure, and the society was stagnant. Mr. Thomas, also known as the Old Misery, symbolizes the old generation which failed to take care of the old society. Although he is able to repair the house, he is “too mean” to do it (89). The establishments of England were not willing to “spend money on the property,” and they did not know how to fix the society, just like Mr. Thomas, who “had never learnt plumbing”
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