The Destructors by Graham Greene

I read “The Destructors” by Graham Green as part of my Contemporary World Literature class. The short story was originally published in 1954.

In London, nine years after World War II, a gang of boys from the Wormsley Common neighborhood meets on a platform to a underground station to plot their mischief. They recently had a new recruit, a boy by the name of Trevor. Trevor’s father was a former architect, but they had recently “come down in the world”, and was now working as a clerk. Trevor, going by the name “T” to prevent any laughter at his upper-class name, was a broody boy. The type of brooding that leads to no good. In the gang leader, Mike’s, eyes he was perfect for the gang. Until one morning, T was late to their morning meet up, where they plan the day’s mischief. When questioned on his tardiness, T informed them that he had spent the morning touring Old Misery’s home. The home was a beautify monument built by famous architect Wren, and had with stood the blitz bombings of World War II. T than advises the gang he desired to destroy the home from the inside out while Old Misery is out on holiday. Mike, the gang’s leader, is opposed to this idea but puts the idea up for vote. After the idea is voted in, Mike steps down as leader to allow T to enact his plan of destruction. T promptly lays out the details of his plan, and assigns everyone a job. The next morning, Mike arrives late to aid in the destruction. Upon his entrance he notices how organized everything is. Mike begrudgingly begins to help in the house’s destruction, until word arrives that Old Misery is headed home, earlier than planned. Mike, than reclaims leadership to assist T finishing the plan. The boys trick Old Misery into coming out to the garden where they keep him locked in his outhouse until the plan has been completed.

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